Cinco de Mayo is officially a holiday celebrating Mexico’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. In the U.S., where it is actually celebrated with more gusto than in its native country, the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.
The holiday also provides a great excuse to make irresistible Mexican-inspired recipes for entertaining and, of course, a big batch of margaritas to wash it all down. Fresh sweet corn is an essential component of many Mexican dishes and a cultural staple.
Luckily, Cinco de Mayo falls right in the middle of Florida’s Sunshine Sweet Corn season, meaning that the sweetest corn, available all year, arrives just in time to be a part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration. These naturally bred varieties are grown by a group of family farmers who are committed to producing the finest sweet corn.
Get the fiesta started with Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip and a big bowl of tortilla chips. Crunchy, spicy, sweet and creamy, this addictive dip will have your guests asking for more.
Next, be sure to serve Mexican Style Corn, a truly authentic and delicious Mexican street food. Crunchy ears of fresh sweet corn are charred to perfection then slathered with a mixture of cheese and mayo, sprinkled with chili powder and squirted with lime for simple flavor perfection.
Finally, no Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without tacos. For a healthful twist on your typical taco, try this recipe for Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw that will have vegetarians and meat-eaters alike clamoring for seconds.
Incorporating more healthful whole foods and veggies into your Cinco de Mayo celebration this year makes it easier to justify one more margarita. No matter what you serve at your Cinco de Mayo celebration, make sure to incorporate the sweet and wholesome flavor of fresh spring sweet corn.
Mexican Style Corn
4 ears fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn, husked
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces Cotija or feta cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 lime slices
Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil corn, turning occasionally until hot and some kernels turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using knife, coat each ear of corn with about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble cheese on one side of each ear of corn. Sprinkle with chili powder, dividing evenly. Broil until cheese starts to melt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with lime. Makes 4 servings.
Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw
4 ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
1/2 cup torn cilantro, parsley and mint leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 cup radishes, cut into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
10 to 12 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Brush corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Over hot grill or open gas stove flame, char ears of corn until well blackened but not completely burnt. Remove from heat; cool. With large knife, shave kernels into bowl. Add cilantro, parsley and mint; reserve.
In small bowl, combine onion and lime juice; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, radishes, zucchini, jalapeño and 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Heat your tortillas one of two ways: Wrap whole stack in foil and place in warm 250-degree oven for 15 minutes, or coat cast-iron skillet with thin layer of oil and heat over high heat; warm each tortilla 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, until lightly blistered.
To make tacos, fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup corn. Top with cheese and radish-zucchini slaw. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip
3 to 4 ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup cooked chorizo
3 cloves garlic, minced
1(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 pound spicy pepper cheese, such as pepper-jack or habanero cheddar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat grill to high heat. Remove cornhusks and corn silk, and place fresh Florida Sweet Corn, onion slices and red bell pepper on grill. Grill corn and bell pepper for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until all sides are slightly charred. Grill onion slices for about 3 minutes per side. When veggies are cool enough to handle, cut corn off cob. Then chop onions and pepper, removing pepper seeds. In 8-by-8-inch baking dish or 1-quart souffle dish, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until edges are bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes eight to 12 servings.