Corn Masa Cakes with Salsa Fresca and Chorizo Crema

The masa cakes are sweet and full of great corn flavor. The salsa is fresh, bright, and crisp. The crema is cool, yet tangy. All three together create a great dish for a tapas-style meal or an appetizer.  Plus, they travel well; I took them to a baby shower that was an appetizer foods potluck. These are inspired by a copy-cat recipe for an appetizer from the Cheesecake Factory that I have messed with and adjusted several times. They also happen to be gluten-free and can be served as a vegetarian dish without the chorizo (substitute a diced chipotle pepper if you still want the bit of spice).


Masa Cakes

about 45 cakes

  • 36 oz frozen sweet corn, defrosted
  • 1 lb butter
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 cups corn masa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a food processor pulse 24 oz of the corn until it is finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer with a flat beater attachment.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, and salt to the pureed corn and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the corn masa, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce to the bowl and mix on low until well combined.
  5. Mix in the remaining 12 oz of corn.
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, form the dough into patties that are about 2 inches  in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Place the patties on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom.
  8. Use a pair of tongs to flip the patties over and return to the oven for about 5 minutes to brown the other side.
  9. Let the patties cool slightly then remove to a serving platter and enjoy!


Salsa Fresca

This makes more than you’ll need for the masa cakes, so be sure to have some chips handy!

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 8 tomatillos
  • 8 scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 avocados
  • fresh cilantro to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rub the poblano peppers with the oil and roast them until their skins are black and crispy. This can be done either in a 400 degree oven, turning them once, or over an open flame, holding them with a pair of tongs. After roasting them place them on a cutting board, cover them with a paper towel, and let them rest for 5 minutes. After they have rested it should be easy to peel their skins off.  Dice the peppers and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Dice the tomatoes, tomatillos, and scallions and add to the peppers.
  3. Mince the garlic or use a garlic press and add it to the bowl.
  4. As close to service as possible dice the avocados and add them to the bowl. (If you make the rest ahead of time you can skip the avocados and season the salsa with the cilantro, salt, and pepper and chill it. There is enough acidity to keep the avocados from turning brown but they will get mushier the longer they sit in the mixture.)
  5. Season with cilantro, salt, and pepper and serve or cover and chill.


Chorizo Crema

  • 8 oz chorizo
  • 1/2 lb crema or sour cream
  1. Cook the chorizo and add it to the crema or sour cream. That is all!

(Crema is similar to creme fraiche, or a thin sour cream. It can be purchased or there are numerous recipes out there to make it yourself.)


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