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Corn Cakes with Calabacitas and Queso Blanco Salsa

Source: Café Pasqual's Cookbook
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Active Time:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  55 Minutes
  Serves 6
This dish is beloved by our vegetarian and nonvegetarian patrons alike. I was inspired to create it in order to offer the centuries-old calabacitas, the Southwest's classic corn and squash sauté. The white cheese salsa is essentially the chile con queso of Old Mexico, but made with ingredients available north of the border. These corn cakes may be served as an appetizer or as a lunch or brunch main course.
For the corn cakes:
1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh or thawed, frozen corn kernels
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon salt
2 dashes of tabasco sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup finely minced scallions, including the green tops
1/4 cup stemmed fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
Melted butter for cooking
For the calabacitas:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups fresh or thawed, frozen corn kernels
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup finely diced zucchini
2 fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

Queso Blanco Salsa

Fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs for garnish
Other necessary recipes:
Queso Blanca Salsa
Prepare the salsa. You may prepare the salsa up to 3 days in advance.

To prepare the corn cake batter, combine the bell pepper, corn, eggs, milk, flour, cornmeal, butter, and salt in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, scallions, cilantro, and Parmesan cheese. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F.

To cook the corn cakes, warm a 7-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Brush the pan with melted butter. When the butter sizzles, ladle 3 or 4 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan, then tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter thinly over the pan's surface. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the cake and cook until the second side browns slightly, another minute. Slide the cake out onto a plate and cover with waxed paper. Make 6 cakes in all in this manner, brushing the pan with butter as needed. As the cakes are cooked, stack them, slipping a sheet of waxed paper between them to prevent sticking, and place in the oven to keep warm until serving. They may be cooked up to 1 hour ahead of serving.

To prepare the calabacitas, warm a sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Brush the pan with the melted butter. When it sizzles, add all the remaining ingredients. Cook, shaking the pan to rearrange the ingredients frequently, until the vegetables are just heated through and slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

To assemble, place the corn cakes on individual plates and divide the calabacitas evenly among them, spooning it on one-half of each corn cake. Fold the other half over to form a half-moon. Ladle the warm salsa all over. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 6
Calories: 560
Fat. Total: 36g
Fiber: 6g
Carbohydrates, Total: 49g
Sodium: 727mg
% Cal. from Fat: 58%
Cholesterol: 201mg
Protein: 16g
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