Casserole-like tortas are a common light supper dish in Mexico. This popular combination of zucchini, corn, and roasted poblano chile is the perfect thing to make for a meatless Monday meal in the summer, when fresh corn is at its peak. Poblano chiles have a wonderful flavor, but they can be spicy. If you prefer a milder dish, California (dried Anaheim) chiles may be substituted.
Zucchini and Corn Torta with Cilantro-Lime Crema
For the cilantro-lime crema:
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream (not ultrapasteurized)
- 1 Tbs. buttermilk or plain yogurt with active cultures
- 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) minced fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbs. minced chipotle chiles in adobo
- Pinch of fine sea salt
For the torta:
- Butter for greasing
- 1 ear white sweet corn, husk and silks removed
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 large poblano or California (dried Anaheim) chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded, then cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
- 1 white onion, chopped
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb. (500 g) zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./170 g) shredded Oaxacan or Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) crumbled cotija or feta cheese
- 1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder (optional)
- Cilantro-Lime Crema (page 177), for serving
1. To make the cilantro-lime crema, in a bowl, mix the cream with the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the wrap, and place in a warm spot (85°F/30°C) until thickened and set, 8 to 24 hours. Stir, cover and refrigerate until chilled and firm before using or for up to 1 week.
2. Transfer 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./70 g) of the crema to a small serving bowl. (Reserve the rest for another use.) Add the lime juice, cilantro, chipotle chiles and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 325°F (160°C). Grease a 1 1/2-qt (1.5-l) gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.
4. To make the torta, holding the ear of corn upright on a cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut off the kernels, keeping the blade angled inward so you get the whole kernel but none of the cob. You should have about 3/4 cup (130 g) kernels. Set aside.
5. In a fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the chiles and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp. salt. Scrape into a colander to let drain and cool.
6. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add the corn and zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is softened but not breaking up, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook to blend the flavors, about 30 seconds. Add to the colander with the chiles. Let the cooked vegetables drain and cool for 15 minutes.
7. Spread 1 cup (180 g) of the zucchini mixture in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle half of the Oaxacan cheese on top. Repeat to make a second layer of the vegetables, top with the remaining Oaxacan cheese and end with the remaining vegetables.
8. Season the eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Pour into the dish and use a spatula to spread evenly. Scatter the cotija cheese over the top and dust with the chile powder. Bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
9. Serve the torta warm or at room temperature with the crema alongside. Serves 4.
Bring a true taste of Mexico to your table with our mouthwatering collection of down-home dishes in, Rustic Mexican, by Deborah Schneider.