You might’ve guessed that I have quite an affinity for tart foods, given my blog name and all. But unbeknownst to you, this “like” is actually superseded quite a bit by my love for all things spicy. It’s part of my heritage. My family comes from Sichuan, a province in China famous for its spicy women (heh, it would be up to Chris to say whether or not this is true), Sichuan peppercorn, and such delights as spicy fried chicken bits, meat/seafood boiled in spicy broth, spicy noodles, mapo style tofu, cold spicy tripe, and the ultimate, Chongqing hot pot (the red side).
When you think about it, preparing spicy food, just like eating it, requires a certain amount of… physical endurance. One of my favorite cuisines is Mexican food, and I have to fortify myself, mentally, before commencing the process of prepping. The ingredients have such interesting(ly painful) defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten. Onions make your eyes water, limes infiltrate breaches such as hangnails and papercuts, and jalapeno, well, let’s just say my fingers are still ringing from the memory of contact.
I was originally intending to make this recipe since we had a couple (gorgeous) ears of corn lying around, but that idea never took off. The topping however did.
I was particularly intrigued by the idea of baking corn until it caramelized, sweetened, and became slightly tacky. So, with a few adjustments, I ended up making what became a roasted corn pico de gallo, a fresh salsa filled with the usual suspects: red onion, cilantro, lime juice, tomato, and jalapeno. If you like heat, I would recommend using the entire jalapeno, including the seeds, but it’s a move not for the faint of heart. Each mouthful is charged with flavor. But it’s good, it’s really good, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll set it aside and let the flavors mingle for a bit. Then start topping.
CORN PICO DE GALLO
Makes about 2 cups
3 fresh ears of corn or 2 cups of frozen corn, defrosted
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice from 2 limes
1 jalapeno, destemmed and finely chopped
1 medium tomato
1/2 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Toss the corn with oil, salt, and pepper, and spread it evenly on the sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes until the corn turns a golden brown and blisters and pops (and caramelizes!).
Combine the red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, tomato, and sugar in a bowl.
When the corn is ready, let it cool, then toss it in the bowl. Let it sit for about half an hour so the flavors can combine.