Charred Corn and Scallion Chilaquiles / by Chelsea Zwieg

Chilaquiles! Remember a few days ago, when I was saying that caramelitas was my new favorite food word? Well it has since been dethroned by a cheesy, egg topped skillet of chips called chilaquiles. 

Have you ever seen a recipe and known immediately that you need to make it? I had never even had chilaquiles until I made them yesterday but a few weeks I came across a recipe (which led me down a very lengthy chilaquiles recipe rabbit hole, thank you google) and I knew that I needed them right away. 

Since I have never actually had them outside of my kitchen, it's very possible that these are the most off-base and inauthentic chilaquiles. But they're delicious, so we're all on board right? 

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish that is essentially fried tortillas, coved in salsa, topped with cheese and baked until super gooey, melty and perfectly soggy (soggy is a good thing there, I promise!). Well, we all know my stance on frying at home. I would rather keep my eyebrows (yes, i know it's not deep frying, but I would find a way) and my sanity by not spending the rest of the night cleaning up grease splatters. So I baked the tortilla chips á la my chili lime tortilla chip method. 

Once the chips are crispy, they get a soak in something spicy like salsa or enchilada sauce. Typically it is salsa but since I prefer enchilada sauce to most salsas I pounced all over that as soon as I saw that a few other recipes had done the same. You can also do a verde version by using a tomatillo salsa or enchilada sauce. I think that's next on my list. 

After that I added a heaping pile of charred corn and scallions. I will use any excuse to put sweet corn in a dish now that it is back in the grocery store. Just wait until it is actually in season in Wisconsin. After that it gets covered in cheese and popped in the oven to get hot and melty. While it's baking, I fried up some eggs to go on top because if anything can improve upon a skillet full of spicy, cheesy chips and sweet kernels of corn, it is a runny egg yolk spilling all over it. 

Chilaquiles is traditionally a breakfast dish (all the more reason to add the eggs) but since you will have a hard time prying my fingers off my precious cereal in the morning, I opted to make it for dinner. If you go the dinner route, you could also add some shredded chicken to the top or stir some beans into the corn mixture to make it a little more hearty. But really, it doesn't matter what time of day you choose to make them. Just make them please. Today. 

Charred Corn and Scallion Chilaquiles

Makes 1 9" skillet

Note: I like my corn extra charred, so I cooked it over the flame of my gas stove before cutting the kernels off and sautéing it. This isn't necessary but it does add that amazing grilled flavor. You can also char it on the grill, under the broiler or in a cast iron skillet.

| Ingredients | 

  • 10 corn tortillas
  • olive oil and salt
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce (I used hot, but go with your tastebuds) 
  • 2-3 ears sweet corn
  • 3 scallions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (something like jack or a mexican blend) 
  • eggs, for topping
  • avocado, for topping

| Ingredients | 

  • Preheat oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with foil. 
  • Arrange tortillas in a single stack. Cut in half one way, then in half the other way (4 sets of triangles). Divide the chips between the prepared baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands to coat the chips. Arrange in a single layer, careful not to overcrowd. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 10-15 minutes until crispy but not fully golden brown. Let chips cool slightly. They will crisp more as they sit. 
  • Meanwhile, cut the kernels off the ears of corn (see note above). Cut the very bottoms and the tops (the very deep green part) off of the scallions and discard or save for another use. Finely chop the remaining scallions. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn and scallions and sauté 3-4 minutes, until the corn begins to brown and caramelize slightly. 
  • Transfer chips to a large bowl. Add enchilada sauce and toss until completely coated.
  • Grease a 9" skillet (for real though, I didn't do this and it was the worst thing ever). Place chips in the skillet, spreading to the edges. Top with a handful of cheese. Add the corn and scallion mixture in an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake (with the oven still at 400) 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly. If you like a little bit more aggressive melting and cheese scalding, you can finish it under the broiler for a minute or two. 
  • Top with fried eggs, avocado, chicken, beans, red pepper flakes or really anything you choose.