Once late June hits, it’s basically a corn-athon at my house. When the local fresh sweet corn is in season we eat as much of it as we can, and not just on the cob. My daughter has braces, plus it’s fun to get creative. I just buy a dozen ears every time I stop at our farm stand without a plan, and we wing it from there.
There’s a special recipe we make at least once every summer, though. It’s a dreamy elote-nachos mashup that we’ve refined into a ritual. When we put it on the menu, we look forward to it all week. Who can say no to nachos for dinner?
Why Mexican Street Corn Nachos Are the Best
Part of my job is to explore the dusty corners of Simply Recipes, which a) is really fun, and b) results in a thick stack of “I’ll make this someday” recipe printouts. When I came across Elise Bauer’s Mexican street corn nachos, I knew right away she was onto something.
Think of the plump grilled corn, tangy mayo, crumbly Cotija, chopped fresh cilantro, and a sprinkling of earthy-spicy ground chiles that are elote’s calling card. Imagine it off the cob and on top of tortilla chips, then doused in a mild, creamy queso.
When Elise makes nachos, she always toasts the chips on their own in the oven briefly, which both heightens their flavor and helps them retain their crispness once you pile on the toppings. These are a symphony of textures: juicy-sweet corn, salty-crunchy tortillas, rich and smooth queso.
How I Make Elote Mashup Nachos
Over the years we’ve evolved this recipe into something a little different, but still recognizably Mexican street corn nachos. First off, we generally avoid dairy, so we’ve swapped the dairy bonanza of Elise’s queso with this vegan queso recipe, only I leave out the carrot so it’s a paler color. I also add a little miso to make it extra savory.
The other notable difference is I scatter dollops of salsa and warmed, drained black beans over the chips to make it more of a meal. Because that’s how we eat it, right off the sheet pan like heathens. My boyfriend and I can totally obliterate the whole batch, though afterwards we’re a little worse for the wear. This most recent time we showed a little restraint and had leftovers, which softened in the fridge into something resembling loaded chilaquiles. I ate them for breakfast the next morning and did not share.
Really, you can play around with these however you like: make it easy by using store-bought queso. Swap the crema for thinned-out sour cream. Use thawed frozen corn instead of fresh. Just promise me you’ll try them. You won’t regret it—unless you eat half a pan all on your own.