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Elote Lettuce Wraps with Corn and Chicken or Crab

Elote Lettuce Wraps with Chicken or Crab


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced for spicy or seeded and chopped for less heat

  • 2 Fresno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 rib celery with leafy tops, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 pound ground chicken or 1 pound crab meat (lump or king legs pulled or chopped and cleaned of tendons and shells)

  • 1 tablespoon cumin for chicken OR 1 tablespoon Old Bay for crab

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne hot sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire

  • ½ bottle or can Modelo or Corona (light lager beer)

  • Juice of 1 lime  

  • 4 ears corn on cob, grilled then scraped from cob

  • 1 cup Mexican crema

  • 2 tablespoons chipotle paste from a tube or pureed or finely chopped and pasted chipotle in adobo

  • 2 cups crumbled queso fresco or Asadero cheese

  • 3 gem Romaine lettuce or 2 hearts of romaine or 3 bibb lettuce, for cups

Toppings of choice:

  • Scallions, thinly sliced

  • Pickled jalapeno peppers, mild or hot

  • Chopped baked meaty bacon

  • Cilantro and/or parsley leaves  


Serves: 4

Heat EVOO and butter over medium to medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet.

Add the peppers, onions and celery, season with salt and pepper and soften a couple of minutes.  Add thyme and garlic and stir, then brown and crumble the chicken and season it with cumin, salt and pepper or add the crab and season it with Old Bay. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, beer and lime juice and combine, then add corn and combine. Add crema mixed with chipotle paste and stir. Transfer to bowl and top with cheese, then garnishes of choice. Serve with lettuce cups or leaves.