One of my favorite summer dishes is elote, Mexican corn on the cob, grilled to sweet charred perfection, and then slathered with mayo, lime juice, and chili powder. Since corn is so cheap, we made Cody’s version several times on Chef Race, including during last night’s Food Truck challenge.
I pretty much look for any excuse to slather mayo all over my food, so I’ve had elote variations on my mind since the summer. Why shouldn’t the creamy, sweet, salty, spicy mixture be applied to every vegetable? The kids would take to the streets with all the nutrients a little mayo made possible. In the end, I only let my imagination run so wild – mainly, because I quickly settled on the ideal Fall replacement for ears of corn: pumpkin wedges.
Last week I did a tasting in my humble studio apartment for a new luxury company I’m working with (more details soon, I promise). I elegantly littered my coffee table with five different vegetarian dishes for a little health-minded grazing. In some ways, my apartment was the perfect venue. Not only did it give them a sense of my personal, shabby-chic style, but it also gave a rather modest backdrop that allowed the food to really speak for itself. On the menu were a few tried and true favorites – polenta bites with truffle honey and smoked ricotta, and this salad – but I also wanted to challenge myself to come up with something new and interesting. And the dish I introduced for the first time, was this take on a pumpkin elote.
The cotija cheese, lime, and chili was a great flavor profile for the pumpkin, which can tend towards either savory or sweet. I lured it towards the latter by roasting the wedges with a little brown sugar. Try it out for yourself as an interesting ethnic Thanksgiving side, or just a simple weeknight veg-grazing of your own. You don’t even have to peel the pumpkin, which, besides the mayo, might be the best thing about this recipe.
Roasted Pumpkin Wedges with Chili, Lime, and Cotija
- 1 small pumpkin about 1 ½ to 2 pounds, cleaned and scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder divided
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- Juice of ½ a lime
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely grated cotija cheese
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves optional, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the top and bottom off the pumpkin using a large chef’s knife. Halve lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (grapefruit spoons work well here). Discard the flesh and reserve the seeds for another use. Cut the pumpkin into ¼-inch wedges.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the pumpkin wedges with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, the sugar, and ¾ teaspoon of the chili powder. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, flipped halfway through the cooking process, until the wedges are soft and caramelized. Allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whisk the mayo, lime juice, cayenne, remaining ancho chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a small bowl.
- When cool enough to touch, sparsely slather each wedge with some of the mayo mixture. Arrange on a platter or plate and dust with the cheese and pepitas. Garnish with the cilantro leaves, if using, and serve room temperature or warm.