Mexico is as close as your kitchen with ‘esquites’

Mexican corn, decorated by the author

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Mexican fare. I used the word fare instead of food on purpose. It’s a complicated, regional cuisine that spans a huge geographic expanse — from the mountains to the coasts to the desert.

If you’re interested in sampling the real thing, and not plastic, cookie-cutter Mexican, you should take a drive to Centerbrook, and visit Los Charros cantina where Chef Colt Taylor delivers the real deal Tuesday — Sunday nights (with the best margaritas in the state.)

Don’t confuse esquites with elote. Both are Mexican street food, but esquites are like little corn cups topped with cheese, lime and cilantro. Eloté is a whole ear of corn smeared with crema, dusted with cotija cheese and then hit with a squeeze of lime. Chef Taylor’s esquites tastes more like the most decadent creamed corn you’ve ever had, with the wheatberries added for texture. I make this when I’m putzing around the house all day. Follow my new restaurant project in Essex on Instagram @CarlsonsLanding

Shuck the corn. Stand an ear of corn on its end inside a large bowl and cut the kernels from the cob, then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to release any liquid. Repeat the process with the other ears of corn. Scrape the corn into a 3- quart sauce pot and pour in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil and reduce to a very slow simmer for 2-3 hours or so, stirring periodically to prevent scorching. Meanwhile, cook the wheatberries according to the package directions and set them aside. When ready for service, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serve the esquites warm as a side dish. (Yields 3 cups)

Los Charros Cantina, 30 Main St., Centerbrook; phone: 860-237-4266; website:

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