Every year around this time, I crave roasted corn enchiladas. I can trace it back to spring 2013, when I first made this dish. My friend Stephanie and I wanted a study break during grad school so we decided to try the recipe.
I could make this dish any time during the year, but for some reason, it tastes better in late April to early May. I guess it’s the same with any food that becomes a tradition. Latkes don’t taste as good in July, and watermelon mint feta salad would be pretty gross in December (depending on where you live).
A lot has changed since I first made these enchiladas, including myself. I realized this while I was cooking the other night. The first time I made this dish, I was measuring every ingredient precisely and *slightly* freaking out about the number of steps in the recipe. Stephanie was there, though, so that helped.
When I made these enchiladas in D.C., I had just moved to the city and I was still settling in. These enchiladas were a constant amidst the newness. I remember making them alone in my new apartment because my roommate was away. I talked to my sisters on FaceTime while I cooked.
This past weekend, I was driving home and a lightbulb went off in my head. It was kind of like the scene from Stranger Things when Will talks to Winona Ryder through the Christmas lights, except my brain was pulsing “must make enchiladas.” I went to the store and got the ingredients.
When I got home, I put on some music and started cooking. I was alone in my house but it didn’t matter because I was completely immersed in what I was doing. I almost didn’t hear the music. I was in enchilada nirvana.
I came out of it for a second, though. Something felt weird. I checked the corn roasting in the oven and it wasn’t burning. I looked at the tomatoes cooking down on the stove and they seemed to be doing fine. I realized that the difference was that everything felt *easy.* I wasn’t struggling with the steps anymore. I’d mastered the recipe.
I’ve recopied the recipe for you below, but feel free to deviate from it. When I made it on Saturday, I eyeballed the spices and added more tomato. I would recommend erring on the side of too many tomatoes rather than too few, because you’ll want A LOT of sauce.
Here’s a song that I played while I was cooking. It’s good for quiet moments with enchiladas (what does that even mean?) or, you know, whenever.
Roasted Corn Enchiladas (slightly adapted from Naturally Ella)
for the filling:
3 large ears sweet corn
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
for the sauce:
3 large slicing tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 corn tortillas
1/2 cup queso fresco
Preheat oven to 375˚. Carefully remove corn from cob by placing the cob perpendicular to the bottom of a large bowl. Cut downward on the cob. Toss kernels with ½ tablespoon olive oil and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, until soft, 15-20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whip together ricotta, honey, lime juice, and cilantro. Once corn is done, stir into ricotta mixture.
To make sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium low heat. Add in minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Roughly dice tomatoes and add into pot along with chipotle powder and salt. Cook until tomatoes are starting to break down. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
Layer tortillas in between a damp paper towel and microwave for a couple minutes until soft, or place them in the oven for a couple minutes until pliable.
To assemble enchiladas, use and 8×5 pan (or an 8×8 with extra space). Place ⅓ of the chipotle tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Next, scoop ⅓-1/2 cup corn filling in to the center of the tortillas, roll gently, and place seem side down in the pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas, carefully squeezing the last tortillas in. Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Bake enchiladas until lightly browning and bubbly, 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!