Culture, Food

Two recipes, one seed: purple corn nachos and cream of corn

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Arianna Hernández

One of the things that has never ceased to amaze me about Nicoya is the omnipresence of corn. A walk through the municipal market is enough to find pujagua corn (purple corn), chilotes (baby corns) and corn on the cob, the raw material that gives life to an infinity of  delicious everyday meals.

And if you walk along the sidewalks downtown, you have to weave your way around stands of tortillas, chorreadas (corn pancakes), rosquillas (traditional ring-shaped cookies), tanelas (sweet bread made with corn), atole drinks made from purple corn, chicheme (corn-based drink) and yoles (tamales), just to mention a handful of the possibilities that can be achieved with this seed in the colonial city.

But since there is no such thing as “too much corn” here, we asked the chef and owner of CanelAzul cafe, Daisy Barrantes, to prepare two recipes for us with this superstar ingredient.

Cream of Corn 

Crema de elote con chilotes rostizados
Cream of corn with roasted baby corns. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

In recent weeks, we’ve gotten a little break from the hot days. This recipe with the flavor of a corn pancake and the texture of thick soup is perfect to prepare on a cool night when it’s sprinkling and to lay down on the couch early to watch a series.

Ingredients:

  • 6 corn with the kernels cut off the cob
  • 5 chilotes or baby corns
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of sweet cream
  • 3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Roast the chilotes in a skillet over high heat. Set them aside to garnish at the end.
  • Remove the husks from the corn and cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.
  • Cook the onion in a pot over medium-low heat until golden.
  • Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the corn and the cup of broth. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes or until the corn is soft.
  • Put the sweet cream and cooked corn with the broth in a blender and blend until smooth. Return the cream to the pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes.
  • Stir the cream to prevent it from sticking to the pot. It should have a thick consistency but if you prefer it a little more liquidy, you can add a little more broth. Add salt and pepper.
  • To finish, serve the cream in bowls and garnish with the roasted chilotes and chopped celery.

Vegetarian Purple Corn Nachos

Vegetarian purple corn nachos. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

There are few things more practical and delicious than dumping a rainbow of vegetables and toppings on a plate of tortilla chips when you don’t have the time or the desire to cook something too complicated. Put your favorite Guanacaste beer in the fridge to chill and get to work!

Ingredients:

  • Purple Corn Chips (Chef Daisy recommends these ones, which are harvested and produced in our Blue Zone)
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 zucchini
  • 1/4 carrot
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • Bell pepper salsa

Directions:

  • Make a bed of purple corn chips and add the onion, zucchini, cucumber and carrot, and toss the chips together with the other ingredients.
  • Top with the grated mozzarella cheese, bell pepper, guacamole, and bell pepper salsa.

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