Saturday, August 27, 2022

Skillet Zucchini with Corn - Calabacitas con Elote

A skillet meal of zucchini, corn, onion and tomatoes with garlic, that can be used as a side dish or served stuffed into warmed corn tortillas, for a vegetable taco.
A skillet meal of zucchini, corn, onion and tomatoes with garlic, that can be used as a side dish or served stuffed into warmed corn tortillas for a vegetable taco.

Skillet Zucchini with Corn - Calabacitas con Elote


I think it may have been when I shared the recipe for my Southern-Style Skillet Ratatouille on the Facebook page recently when a reader, Austin, mentioned calabacitas, a Southwest/Mexican-style dish that also uses some of the summer bounty of fresh vegetables that many of us love.

Summer is coming to an end soon so let's get them in while we can y'all!

Austin mentioned that they had made this dish for a party recently and said that their guests really enjoyed it. I'm not sure what recipe they used, or how they served it, but of course, I had to look further into this dish!

Turns out, like everything else across the world, everybody seems to make this dish a little differently from one another, though it's a dish that appears to be primarily squash-based, sometimes using a regional squash called tatume or calabacita where available, but more often here in the U.S., simply a common zucchini. The dish also typically includes some corn and some families include tomato, onion, garlic and some sort of chilies. 

It just so happened my son had gifted me recently with a huge zucchini I needed to use, so it was a good time to experiment! Although I used some of the same elements as the calabacitas, I settled for calling my dish Skillet Zucchini with Corn.

What I found with this dish is that it is mostly seasoned with simple salt and pepper and not much in the way of what Americans would consider "southwestern" or even "Mexican" seasonings - things like chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander or even much in the way of herbs - although I think the use of some of any of these would be a delicious addition too! 

Here's how I made this Skillet Zucchini with Corn aka Calabacitas con Elote, and as always, full recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, are a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the step-by-step pictures below.

It appears to be most common to precook the corn since it's an otherwise quick cooking dish. I'm using two ears of corn here, so I'm going with the easy, no husk microwave cook method - about 4 minutes per ear (depending on the wattage of your microwave) - so easy! Honestly, I use this method the most when I want to cook a few ears of corn since it's just the two of us. By the way the orange pad pictured here is a great tool to use for transferring hot foods from your microwave! 


Typically, the no husking microwave method allows you to just cut off the end of the cob and just shake the corn out of the husk.


The silks stick to the husks meaning it doesn't take a lot of cleaning silks off of your corn before you're eating your corn!


Two gorgeous, cooked ears of corn, with very little effort!


I'm also using this handy dandy corn scraper to remove the kernels from the cobs. It just does a nice clean job without scattering kernels over half of your kitchen!


Meanwhile, I'm using a couple slices of chopped bacon for seasoning, so get that started in a deep skillet.
I'm also using a can of green chilies and a small jar of chopped pimentos, both drained. There's that Easy Greasy strainer, another kitchen favorite!


To the bacon, I'm adding some chopped onion. 


While that is cooking up, use the back of a butter knife to scrape down the corn cobs of all pulp. This will add both flavor and thickness to this dish.


To the bacon and onion, add in some chopped garlic.


Add the corn along with the milk and pulp.


Add the diced squash. 


I'm using a can of undrained, mild Rotel tomatoes although any good fresh tomatoes may be used instead.


Add the green chilies and pimentos.


Season with salt and pepper, give it a taste and adjust as needed. I also added some oregano, basil and a dash of red pepper flakes.


Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.


Or, until everything is nice and tender.


Stir in cheese. I don't keep any kind of Mexican cheese on hand, so I'm going with what I have - mozzarella. I'm only using 1/2 cup, really just enough to stir in to kind of bind all the veggies together. You can also just top it and cover to allow the cheese to melt on top.


Serve as a side dish or stuff into warmed corn tortillas for a vegetable-based taco. 







Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on August 27, 2022
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