Leftover steak or beef tenderloin makes the best individual nachos especially when topped with homemade Mexican street corn or esquites. An easy one bite appetizer with something for everyone!
Mexican Street Corn Nachos were born out of what to do with some leftover steak sitting in the fridge. They aren't your traditional cheese nacho recipe with drippy sauce but more of an individual bite that is room temperature and full of flavor thanks to an easy street corn salad recipe loaded with spice and a touch of heat.
If you've been around here for a while, you know that we love beef tenderloin recipes. A quick visit to my Beef Tenderloin Sliders or Potato and Beef Tenderloin Bruschetta recipes and you'll know that roasting up a beef tenderloin whether for a holiday or game day is one of our favorite techniques.
And this recipe answers the age old question that I know is keeping you up at night...
What to do with leftover steak
Whether you have leftover tenderloin or ribeye, you can make nachos or other good stuff. You can also add leftover steak to make:
- Philly Cheesesteaks. Melt sharp provolone over some ribeye on a griddle to make these so good and satisfying weeknight sandwiches.
- Crispy Beef Burritos. Substitute the ground beef mixture for the leftover steak and you'll have an easy dinner recipe ready to go! Here's a quick video on how to fold a burrito.
- Mac 'n Cheese. A beefy mac adds such good umami to my cheesy and easy Last Meal Mac and Cheese.
Distracted enough? Time to make some leftover steak nachos. But we have to start with the corn salad recipe.
Roasting frozen corn
You don't have to resort to charring and grilling fresh corn to make esquites salad. The secret weapon to these steak nachos counts on you having one key ingredient tucked in your freezer: some frozen fire-roasted corn (like Trader Joe's or any other brand you can find).
Don't have any frozen corn on hand? You can roast frozen corn yourself right in your oven!
- Crank your oven to 400˚.
- Spread the corn on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper (or even add chili powder here).
- Roast for about 20 minutes until charred checking halfway through and stirring.
Fast Mexican Street Corn Salad
The best thing about esquites is how simple they are to make. To the corn, you're going to stir together:
- chopped cilantro
- spices like cumin and chili powder
- cotija and a little parmesan (hey I'm Italian!)
- mayo and crema
Assembling the perfect individual nacho
- Space the tortilla chips on a platter.
- Fan some sliced avocado on each chip. The avocado acts as the glue for the steak.
- Top with a thinly sliced piece of beef followed by a spoon of esquites, a fresh crumble of cotija and garnish of cilantro.
Best kind of tortilla chips for nachos
Use firm and fairly flat tortilla chips. My favorites are the El Milagro Salted Tortilla Chips.
Leftover roasted portobellos would make a great vegetarian nacho. And my Authentic Carnitas recipe offer a whole other take on these.
Grate some sharp cheddar and heap on each individual chip. Broil until toasty and assemble as directed.
Any jarred salsa or black bean dip would be great on top of the beef tenderloin.
Feta or queso fresco make great alternatives to cotija. You could also use a dry ricotta or farmers cheese.
You want a flat, firm tortilla chip. This isn't the time for the thin delicate chips.
Make ahead, storing, reheating
The Mexican street corn salad can be made ahead of time and since the beef is leftover, there isn't much to make ahead. This is more of a "from the fridge" recipe.
The corn salad can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
Reheat the beef tenderloin in a sheet pan at 400˚ for about 5 minutes just to warm it through.
Mexican Street Corn Nachos
For the nachos
- 16 tortilla chips
- ½ avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4 slices leftover beef tenderloin or steak, sliced in quarters to make 16 pieces
- 4 ounces cotija cheese, divided
For the esquites
- 1 bag fire roasted frozen corn, thawed and cooked according to package directions
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon crema or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more if needed
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- ½ lime, juiced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
For the street corn (esquites)
- Place thawed and heated corn in a medium sized bowl. Stir in jalapeno and garlic until combined.
- In a measuring cup, mix the mayo and crema together. Stir in the spices and parmesan until mixed well.
- Add the mayo/crema combo to the corn and stir until combined.
- Sprinkle in 2 oz of cotija, cilantro and lime juice. Toss until incorporated. Taste and correct for seasoning.
Assemble the nachos
- Lay tortilla chips on a platter leaving space in between.
- Top each tortilla chips with the following ingredients: slice/piece of avocadobeefesquitesremaining crumbled cotijacilantrosqueeze of lime
- Serve 4 nachos per person.