Monday calls for fries.
Especially THESE fries. THESE fries are…epic.
With July 4th being only a couple days away, it’s safe to say that the summer is officially under way. I know it’s technically been summer for a couple weeks now, but in my brain, it’s still May. Don’t worry, though, I am all aboard the summer fun train and I have no plans of getting off any time soon.
To celebrate the impending holiday and all the goodness of summer, I made these insanely delicious Mexican street corn oven fries. And yes, they are just as good as they sound. Maybe even better!
I looooooooooove elotes (aka, Mexican street corn). It is one of the most delicious ways to eat sweet summer corn. My sister, who is a chef, makes the BEST version of elotes I have ever had. She grills the corn until perfectly charred and caramelized and then lathers it up in a spiced and creamy layer and tops it off with cotija cheese, more spices, herbs, and fresh lime juice. It. Is. So. Good.
If I see elotes on a menu, I always order it. Especially in the summer time when you know fresh corn is at its peak. You need the corn to be at its sweetest and juiciest to make the best elotes.
Our local farm stand usually harvests the first of the summer corn this week, and I go every single week through September and buy at least a dozen ears. While we only go through half of that in a week, I remove the rest from the cobs and freeze for the winter months. In fact, this batch of fries was made with my last bag of 2017 summer corn from my freezer, and it tasted like a million bucks. So sweet! Freezing it immediately really does seal in all that special, sweet flavor.
So! Given that our lives are soon going to be filled with copious amounts of fresh corn, these seemed completely appropriate to share with you all this week. Right before the holiday!
Because these would go swimmingly alongside those July 4th burgers you’re probably planning on grilling up. They’d be an amazing addition to your summer holiday spread, right alongside that potato salad and platter of sliced watermelon. Just sayin’.
I made these fries from scratch. I love making my own oven fries. Not only do they taste amazing, but they’re a little bit better for you than anything you can buy at the store. No frying involved. That said, if you want to take a short cut here (which I have done many times in the at-home french fry department), pick up a bag of your favorite frozen fries. Spice them up the same way I do here and cook them up according to the package directions. It’s a surefire way to cut this recipe prep/time/effort in half.
BUT! If you do feel so inclined, I implore you to try out this method for oven fries. It yields a crispy, almost-fried-like french fry every time. This batch is spiced with some of my favorite Mexican flavors: chili powder, cumin, smoked coriander, and garlic. They get tossed in a little oil, the spices, and some salt and pepper, and then are crisped up in a really hot oven. The pre-bake soaking time is KEY! It is the most important step of the entire recipe, so don’t skip it!
The resulting fries alone have so much flavor and an amazing texture. I’m obsessed.
Next up: all the Mexican street corn toppings! Get ready to drool your face off.
Sweet summer corn. Two cheeses. Fresh herbs. Chopped scallions. A sprinkling of smoked paprika. And a hefty drizzle of Mexican crema.
And that my friends, is how dreams come true. Two of my favorite foods collide to create the most addicting skillet of deliciousness. These really have something for everyone.
Fluffy and crunchy potatoes, pops of corn sweetness, cheesy and creamy decadence, a hit of spice, and a smooth tangy finish. Seriously, these might be my (newest) favorite thing to come out of my kitchen in a looooong time.
Now, excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin. I need to go make another batch STAT.
4 large Russet potatoes, washed well and sliced into 1-inch thick wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (you can also use defrosted frozen corn in a pinch)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup grated cotija cheese
¼ cup Mexican crema (or sour cream thinned out with a little milk)
Smoked paprika, for sprinkling lightly over top
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Chopped scallions, for garnish
Once the potatoes have been washed and cut, rinse very well under cold water to remove the excess starch. Place in a large bowl and cover with very cold water. Allow to sit for 2 hours. Drain the water and rinse off the potatoes. Cover with water again and let sit for another 1-2 hours (the longer you let them sit, the crunchier they will get in the oven. You are removing the excess starch from the potatoes by doing this).
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line two large rimmed baking sheets with foil. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the foil for each baking sheet.
Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with towels. Place on prepared baking sheets without overcrowding them. This allows for the air to circulate around the potato and creates crispiness. If you overcrowd the baking sheets, the potatoes will only steam.
Drizzle the potato wedges with oil and sprinkle over the spices. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all the potatoes evenly in the seasonings.
Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the potato wedges over, and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until they are browned and crispy.
Gather the fries onto one baking sheet and form a pile (alternatively, transfer them to a cast-iron skillet).
Sprinkle the corn kernels over the potatoes.
Top the fries and corn evenly with the two cheeses, reserving half the cotija for serving. Drizzle lightly and evenly with the Mexican crema. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Return the baking sheet (or skillet) to the oven for 5-7 minutes or until everything is warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and garnish the fries with the remaining cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, scallions, and a spritz of fresh lime juice. Serve immediately.
If you don’t want to make your own fries from scratch, you can certainly use store-bought frozen fries. Spice them up and cook them according to the package directions.
If you cannot find Mexican crema (my local store only carries it sometimes), you can sub in sour cream thinned with a little milk until it reaches a drizzling consistency. Season with a little salt and you’re good to go!