In honor of the World Cup final, I wanted to make another fast, but flavorful, dinner. Seeing as my friend’s garden has had an explosion of zucchini, it was time to get creative. And as a Midwestern girl, I love corn, so I decided it was time to master the homemade tortilla and make some tacos.
What a revelation I had! When I lived back in the U.S., I could just go to any grocery store and there they were, sometimes still warm, and at a relatively low price for a little less than two dozen. Here in the Netherlands? Not so much. If you do find them, they just aren’t the same. So I asked a friend who just relocated here from Chicago to hook me up with a tortilla press.
I’ve tested a few tortilla recipes, and found one that mixes both flour and corn — so you can savor the corn flavor while enjoying the flour texture. This is the part that takes the longest because you have to let the little balls of yum rest for 30 minutes and do their thing. But, of course, you can use that time to prep the rest of the dish.
A few tips on the filling
If you can grill the corn on an actual grill, do it! You can also use leftover corn from your epic barbecue the night before (making for even faster prep), but you can also grill it on the stovetop. Grilling or blackening it is important — it releases the sugars and gives it a creamy sweet flavor.
As for the zucchini, scoop out the middle bit, like you would a cucumber — it’s where the moisture is and scooping it out lets remaining flesh hold up much better, even in leftovers.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 ears of grilled corn, kernels removed (or 3 cups corn kernels, blackened at high heat
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (I used a Vidalia onion because I like sweet onions with corn
- 1 jalapeño or Dutch pepper (called Spaanse pepper), finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups zucchini, middle part scooped out and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 medium zucchini, or one bigass one from your friend’s garden
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus some for garnish (use the stems — lots of flavor there!)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (Kosher salt will do)
- 12 tortillas, lightly charred in a skillet and kept warm
- 2 ripe avocadoes, chopped into chunks
- Crumbled Cotija or Feta cheese
- Sour cream (or crème fraîche because it’s Europe and sour cream actually costs more!)
- Lime wedges for garnish
- If using leftover grilled corn, warm it up in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. If using fresh corn, roast for a few minutes, then let cook for about 10 minutes, tossing the pan frequently. Add the onion and jalapeño or red pepper, cook for 2 additional minutes. Add garlic, stir until fragrant, about a minute. Transfer to a bowl to keep warm; wipe the skillet clean and return to medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil, and heat until it smokes a bit. Add zucchini and leave it alone to cook for a couple of minutes, then toss it for a couple more minutes to blacken a bit. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Throw in the cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and stir to blend all the ingredients.
- Assemble your tacos! Scoop some avocado on the tortilla, spoon over the zucchini and corn mixture, add a dollop of the sour cream, crumble on the Cotija or Feta, and sprinkle with some cilantro leaves. Serve with a wedge or two of lime on the side.
Li Pleij is a silly girl from Humboldt Park, Chicago, who now lives in The Netherlands and is wonderfully insane. Follow her current delicious adventures at The Sleazy Bakeshop.