Posts Tagged 'cayenne pepper'

Mexican Corn on the Cob

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Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Every time I go to Las Tortugas, an authentic Mexican deli in Germantown, TN, I order their “Elote.” This sweet yet fiery corn-on-the-cob is a popular street food in Mexico. Luckily, this deliciously different dish is easy to make at home.


Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Vegetable oil, for the grates

4 large ears corn, shucked

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup cojita cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

4 lime wedges

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Brush the corn with the butter. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until just tender and slightly charred on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove from the grill.

Spread the cheese on a large plate. While the corn is still warm, spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise evenly over each cob. Roll the cob in the cheese, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper to taste, and finish with squeeze of lime.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Cotija cheese is a salty semi-hard, crumbly cheese that resembles grated Parmesan. Grated Parmesan or crumbled Feta are acceptable substitutes.

Variation: Want a simple grilled corn? Minus the toppings, this is the basic technique for grilling corn-on-the-cob.


From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

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Tequila Chicken Fajitas

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo – or any night – with these flavorful chicken fajitas hot off the grill.

Chicken fajitas are always a crowd pleaser, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. In about 30 minutes, you can have a delicious south of the border inspired meal on the table.

The secret trick for flavorful and moist chicken is to marinate it overnight. The lemon juice, tequila, onion, garlic, and spices not only flavor the chicken but also make it more tender. I suggest marinating the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag so you don’t have a to dirty a dish. And, if feeding your family, don’t be concerned about the tequila in this recipe. When you put it on the grill, all the alcohol burns off.

This whole meal can be prepared on the grill if you like. Instead of sautéing the peppers and onions, grill them instead.  Even the tortillas can be warmed on the grill. Wrap them in aluminum foil and warm on the grill over direct heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

To serve, arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Be sure to set out an assortment of south of the border toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, to name a few. Your guests will enjoy assembling their own fajitas by putting their favorite ingredients in the tortillas.

Tequila Chicken Fajitas

For the chicken:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fajitas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
8  flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup guacamole (optional garnish)
1 cup pico de gallo (optional garnish)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional garnish)

To make the chicken: In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, stir together the lemon juice, tequila, hot sauce, olive oil, onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To make the fajitas: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

To serve, thinly slice the chicken across the grain. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a platter. Serve with warmed tortillas and your favorite toppings. Encourage diners to make their own fajitas by putting the ingredients in the tortillas.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

It is best to marinate the chicken over night. If short on time, marinate for at least 2 hours.

This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.


Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Blackened Catfish

If you like a little kick in your food, blackening should be in your cooking repertoire.

It is so easy. It really isn’t a cooking technique at all … but instead is the use of a spicy seasoning.

Blackened seasoning is a fiery mixture of herbs and spices.  You can always pick up a pre-made blend at your local market. But if you would like to make your own blackened seasoning, it’s really not hard to do.  Just whisk together 2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, cayenne pepper, granulated sugar, salt, and black pepper. For a little less heat, reduce the amount of cayenne and black pepper. (This mixture will store for several weeks, tightly sealed, in your spice cabinet.)

Delicious on fish or chicken, I like to generously season the meat with the blackened seasoning and then either sear it in a skillet over the stove-top or grill it.

This recipe is the basic technique for blackening fish. Feel free to substitute chicken or your favorite fish for the catfish. Tilapia, salmon, and swordfish all taste delicious blackened.


Blackened Catfish

In Memphis (my hometown), Soul Fish Café may be known for its fried catfish, but my favorite item on their menu is the blackened catfish.  This is my homemade version along with the not-so-traditional remoulade they serve on the side to cut the heat.

For the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions

For the Blackened Catfish:
4 catfish fillets (6 ounces each)
4 tablespoons blackened seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the Remoulade Dipping Sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the Blackened Catfish:

Season both sides of the fish with the blackened seasoning. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the fish on one side until the meat is well browned and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over the fillets and cook until desired doneness, about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade dipping sauce.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.

Jennifer Chandler

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