Asia had rice. Europe had wheat. And The Americas had maiz - CORN. In Mexico there are over 59 native varieties of maiz and the differences in flavor, texture, color run the gamut. The last time I was in Mexico City I went to one of my favorite mezcal bars - Mano Santa. Between copitas of angustofolia and karwinski, my boyfriend and I became peckish and Esquites was on the menu. The pairing of the classic sweet street food snack and the smokey mezcal carried me to another culinary palette that I love to introduce to my friends at dinner parties.
For the corn, I prefer organic because Monsanto's corn scares the shit out of me. Read more about Monsanto's Frankenstein practices of playing God here.
- Over medium heat toast the chile de arbol until it becomes fragrant like peanuts over a comal. Once cooled, chop this into a fine powder. Skip this step if you are using Tajin.
- Heat the lard until melted and add the diced onion and jalapeño. Sautée for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add the epazote or cilantro and corn and stir until coated. Add 1/4 cup water and cover the mixture allowing it to cook for 5 minutes over med-low heat.
- Remove the pot from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Salt to taste.
- Serve into small ramequins and garnish with fresh cotija cheese, chili de arbol or Tajin, and freshly squeezed lime juice.