The North and South Fork of Long Island are famous for sweet corn. It starts stacking up on farm stands in July and has a good run through September, mostly offered as roasted corn to snack upon while shopping for mums and late-season sunflowers.
All that’s well and good, but doesn’t pair with a passion fruit margarita. So, let’s take the abundance of freshly shucked corn you recently grabbed from Balsam Farm or Halsey Farm (or your pick of favorite, corn-tastic East End farm stands) and get our Mexico City on via Sag Harbor’s recently opened El Tacobar street corn.
Restaurateur Laurent Tourondel’s newest spot offers fresh ingredient-driven Mexican food made by talented Mexican chefs, and it gets the sides and vibe right.
“I think Mexican food is so popular because it is approachable and not pretentious,” Tourondel notes. “It is simple, satisfying dishes that are familiar.”
The most popular side offered at this newest addition to Sag’s main drag? Street corn, also known as elotes Mexicanos. This classic street-food dish is found throughout Mexico City, where corn has been a prolific and important ingredient since ancient times.
El Tacobar’s version uses poached corn, which gets a slathering of Mexican crema (similar to American sour cream, but a little heftier and richer), lime, crumbly, salty Cotija cheese, and a dusting of Tajin, a unique blend of 100 percent natural chili peppers, lime and sea salt. (Most markets carry the latter, but you can substitute your favorite ancho and chipotle chili powder if you’d like.)
Start with the local star ingredient. “Balsam Farm’s corn is sweet and crisp and not very starchy,” says Tourondel. “It is a quintessential part of the East End and a classic ingredient for any late-summer meal.”
And while Tourondol likes the texture of the corn when poached, no need to get stuck on the corn prep. “There are multiple ways to prepare the corn for the recipe,” says the chef. “It can be poached, grilled or roasted.”
And what about that margarita? “We love to pair this dish with the Passion en Fuego from El Tacobar,” Tourondel says, a drink that’s a margarita riff with passion fruit, chili threads and a habanero mist — a just-right whisper of heat to complement the corn’s late-summer sweet.
El Tacobar’s street corn
- 6 ears Long Island corn, each ear cut into three pieces
- 2 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp Mexican crema
- 6 tbsp grated Cotija cheese
- 6 tsp Tajin
- 6 wedges lime