Enchiladas filled with corn and bacon mixture, spiced with red salsa and smothered with cheese: bubbling, crisp and utterly delicious.
Who doesn't love bacon?
Bacon is apparently the only meat that a lot of vegetarians sometimes miss. It is the salty fat, the smoky flavour and the fact that it is so, so unhealthy – like all the most temptingly delicious things on earth.
Non-vegetarians love it too, to the extent of sometimes overlooking bacon’s meaty nature. Occasionally, when I suggest preparing a vegetarian pasta dish for dinner, the Weather Man will say ‘okay, maybe with just a little bacon?’ as if that addition would still keep the pasta vegetarian.
Bacon goes with many things extremely well, not only pasta. And recently I have been cooking it with fresh sweetcorn all the time because the two together are explosively tasty.
How to cook sweetcorn with bacon
Smoked diced bacon (lardons) is best for this exercise as it will give the dish a gutsy flavour. It starts off in a cold pan over medium heat while you shuck the sweetcorn and slice kernels off the cob.
There are many hacks and tricks around on how to best do it without making a mess, but it really is no big deal: I use a serrated knife and slice down the cob in a sawing motion. Mess? There’s always some mess when you’re cooking.
You can add the corn kernels into the pan just as the bacon starts to crispen. Stir, cook for ten minutes and season with black pepper. That, for me, is a meal of its own.
I love Mexican cuisine
Mexican food is my unrequited love. Unrequited because for some idiotic reason it isn’t hugely popular in the UK and so an authentic taqueria or fondita is impossible to find. Thus I have to cook my tacos, quesadillas, chilies and nachos at home, probably lamely and ignorantly.
Therefore, I have absolutely no idea whether enchiladas filled with corn and bacon are even a thing, let alone a Mexican thing, but as soon as I discovered the corn-bacon combo, I wanted to wrap a tortilla around it.
Quesadillas vs. burritos vs. enchiladas
The Weather Man still gets confused about the various ways stuff is wrapped in tortillas and what the resulting dishes are called. He gets tacos probably because it’s a nice and short word and we have them a lot.
But quesadillas which he calls ‘casa-diers’ (and possibly believes are spelt that way) trouble him, no matter how many times I explain that ‘quesa’ means cheese so Cheddar must be involved.
Buritos and nachos always need clarifying too (‘the wrap thing’ and ‘the crisps thing’) and fajitas leave him bewildered because there are no tortillas involved.
Enchiladas are ‘the baked thing with salsa and cheese’ and thankfully it does not matter much what they are filled with – Mexicans are charitably flexible like that. So even if corn and bacon are not the most traditional of enchilada fillings, the fact that the dish tastes great hopefully justifies my recipe.
Isn’t it awesome that Latinos call a dish with the word for a dance? Joking – it’s actually the other way round. Salsa dancing is hot and spicy, and the dancers or musicians would shout ‘salsa!’ during gigs to enliven the tempo.
Salsa the condiment comes in the red or the green versions. The latter is problematic to make outside South America as tomatillos, the green cousins of tomatoes, are hard to come by. I make it with green tomatoes but it’s not exactly the authentic article.
Salsa roja, red salsa is made with tomatoes. Arguably, it won’t be authentic either if made with Isle of Wight toms but at least the ingredient is correct.
It is super easy to make: just blitz the tomatoes with onion, chillies and herbs in a blender or food processor. But in case you thought the mix can be used straight away as it will get cooked in the oven, you’re wrong. Salsa needs to be cooked in a pan on the hob to develop the flavour and thicken, like the proper sauce it is.
It couldn’t be easier: a lick of salsa in the dish, toasted tortillas tightly wrapped around the filling, cigar-fashion, snugly nested and topped with more sauce and cheese, if used (but whoever would opt out of using cheese?).
It sounds like an ideal make-ahead dish but I should not recommend it: tortillas tend to go soggy when they stand with the filling. Caveat then: if you want to try and make it ahead, it’s at your own risk as I never dare to.
More Mexican recipes
Enchiladas again: this time with roasted, sliced chicken breast filling and green (problematic, see above) salsa. Use leftover chicken meat by all means.
All-day breakfast quesadillas, with bacon, mushrooms and, obviously, cheese. No, I don’t subscribe to the Tik-Tok quesadilla hack. I’m old school.
What’s naughtier than crisps for dinner? Still, homemade loaded nachos will be healthier than a packet of crisps.
More sweetcorn recipes
Cheesy sweetcorn tart, a fantastic way to use leftover pizza dough and fresh ears of corn.
Creamed corn and tomatoes is a brilliant combination, but using fresh corn is a must.
Chilli con carne? No – this is chilli con corn! A veggie dish with sweetcorn instead of beef.