Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sortatash Version 2–Hot Sautéed Corn and Squash Side Dish

I’ve worked on this recipe a few times, tweaking it a bit each time. The last time I tried using it as a less wet alternative to salsa in the Yakisoburrito.

This time, I decided to make it completely a side dish, good for accompanying grilled meats and whatnot, and overall I am pretty satisfied with the result.

I replaced the rather thin wax pepper with a much meatier cousin, the pasilla pepper, and spiked everything with a bit of habanero.  The result is a satisfying, toothsome dish that will fill many a belly quite nicely.


Before I continue on with the recipe, please let me shill an awesome project again briefly. Tiffany Simmons is writing a cookbook themed around tabletop gaming, and it is going to be awesome. Yes, I am taking part of it as a recipe tester. And if you’re in the Northern California Bay Area and are free on September 8th, you should consider joining me in San Rafael for a gaming and recipe testing/tasting event, I’ll be cooking up a storm! Just check out the Secret Passage reward level!

Ok, now back to the sortatash recipe.


Here’s most of what you will need. Salt, pepper, three ears of corn, three or four summer squash such as the Tatuma pictured here or perhaps Zucchini, Yellow, or Gold Rush,  two Pasilla peppers, and optionally, some or all of an habanero pepper.


And some onion never hurts either.


The prep the pasilla peppers, scorch them thoroughly over a gas flame, or with a blow torch (exercising all necessary caution). If using a gas flame, carefully flip them around using long tongs.


When they are thoroughly charred, allow them to cool briefly before placing them in a thick plastic bag, or if that makes you nervous, cover them in a bowl as tightly as you can with a lid.


After half an hour or so, wipe off or wash away the charred skin.


Cut the flesh into strips and then into small dice.


While the peppers are cooling, prepare the corn by soaking with water and microwaving for twelve minutes, or four minutes per ear, let cool as well.

Once cool enough to handle, cut off the ears of corn with a knife.


Cut half of an onion into small dice.


And if you feel like some hotter stuff, thinly cut up an habanero and set aside.


Exercise caution if you’re using it.


Now that the ingredients are prepped time to get cooking. Set a large pot suitable for sauteeing and stirring up a big batch of chopped veggies on high heat. Nonstick versions work fine too. Generously coat with vegetable oil.


Add onion, cook until just translucent, a few minutes.


Then add the diced squash, and toss well, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, ideally browning without burning, and avoid making too soggy. Lower heat to medium.


Sprinkle well with a teaspoon of chili powder, salt to taste, and ground pepper to taste. If using, add some of the habanero as well. My family likes things hot but not too hot, and found that a third of a small habanero was just fine for this amount of veggies, especially once cooked. If you desire more heat, add more of the pepper, or add after most of the cooking is done.


Stir well to incorporate seasonings, then add the Pasilla peppers and corn kernels and stir well to break them up.


Once the corn has heated through, taste and season as necessary, then serve!


Enjoy with grilled meats, such as a chicken or pork chops.


Sortatash recipe (Serves 8)

  • 1/2 a medium Onion, diced
  • The kernels of three cooked and shucked ears of corn*
  • Three medium summer squash, cut into 1/4 inch dice (Gold Rush, Tatuma, or Zucchini will work)
  • 2 pasilla peppers, charred and diced (see above)
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper, plus to taste
  • Habanero to taste (optional)**
  • Vegetable oil for sauteeing
  1. Place a large pot suitable for sauteeing over high heat, and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom.
  2. When the oil is shimmering and the pot hot, add onion and cook until just translucent.
  3. Add squash and cook until just done but not squishy, 3-4 minutes. Lower heat to medium.
  4. Season with the chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoons of salt and pepper.
  5. Add the corn kernels, pasilla peppers, and desired amount of habanero if using. Stir and heat through, another minute or so.
  6. Taste and season as necessary.

*Corn can be cooked conveniently in the microwave by wetting under some running water with the husks on, and microwaving for four minutes per ear. Let cool before cutting off the kernels.

**If you aren’t a fan of Habanero’s fruity flavor but still like heat, substitute ground cayenne pepper to taste.


  1. You have absolutely perfect timing with this recipe! =D Just got a few ears of corn and some baby summer squashes in my farm box and was trying to come up with something for them.