This Mexican Street Corn is CRAZY GOOD! It works double duty too; as a side or a scrumptious dip!
I love exploring recipes that have fun, fascinating history and rich, ethnic roots. This kind of cuisine has the ability to paint pictures of people and places far away and transport me to areas of the world that I may never have the pleasure of visiting. This Mexican Street Corn definitely is one of those recipes!
I've been reading rave reviews about Mexican Street Corn for some time now, and have been intrigued each time I've seen a new version on Pinterest. I have to admit though, I read a delightful, authentic description of Mexican Street Corn recently, and it compelled me to purchase a big bag of the prettiest corn I could find and start tinkering with limes, jalapeños, cotija cheese and chili powder...
The elotero, or corn-on-the-cob vendor is one of the most appreciated vendors in the streets of Mexico. His announcement of “EEELLLOOTTEES!” is awaited with anticipation throughout all Mexican neighborhoods. Riding by in his carrito elotero or corn vendor cart, he hauls a large pot of boiling water, full of fresh ears of corn cooked to perfection.
With extra long tongs, the elotero pulls a plump corn on the cob from the depths of this giant pot of gold, stabs the bottom with a wooden stick and shakes off the excess water.
“Como se lo preparo?” “What would you like on it?” he asks, as he grabs what appears to be a paint brush, dips it in a large tub of butter and “paints” the corn in the creamy, thick yellow base. Toppings choices may include, mayonnaise, crema, cotija cheese, salt, chile powder and lemon. My choice: chile powder, cheese and a squeeze of lime.
Ericka - Nibbles and Feasts Blog
A bit more research revealed that, though Ericka's description is totally authentic, there are different presentations for Mexican Street Corn. In southern and central Mexico, the same type of corn is sold in stalls and markets, however the kernels are cut from the cobs and the flavorful corn is served in bowls. When prepared this way, it's called esquites instead of elote. The toppings are pretty consistent however, with both versions including lemon or lime juice, chile powder or hot sauce, salt and mayonnaise.
Lot's of the Mexican Street Corn recipes I found online call for the corn to be grilled or charred in a hot skillet. While I'm sure this is quite delicious, I decided to keep mine simple, and let the fresh, sweet corn shine. I cook my corn in the microwave very lightly - actually just to the point where the color changes to a more vibrant hue and the corn is crisp-tender. The only other cooking involved in the recipe a super brief sauté of a few cloves of minced garlic; just long enough to mellow out the flavor.
Here at The Café, we like things spicy, but not super hot, so I used one finely diced jalapeño. Feel free to add more, if you like things a little more firey. I added lots of thinly sliced scallions and finely chopped cilantro to my version. The cotija cheese, chili powder, lime juice and mayo, I kept quite traditional.
Okay, does this Mexican Street Corn warrant the rave reviews and extreme popularity on the bustling streets of a zillion big and small Mexican cities? Oh yes!! The first time I made it, we had been invited to have a burger cookout at my son's. We enjoyed it immensely as an appetizer with tortilla chips, but it was so delicious, we decided to also serve it as a side with the burgers.
It's sweet, spicy, crunchy, tangy, creamy and just plain old super delicious. I recently served it for a nice dinner with pan-seared salmon. It's also great with grilled chicken, pork or beef and would be perfect to take to a picnic or potluck. Serve it warm or at room temp, either way, I think you'll flip over the bright fresh flavor. You'll probably be asked for the recipe, so make a few extra copies, or better yet, just send them over to The Café
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves fresh garlic finely minced
- 8 ears fresh corn husks and silk removed
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
- 1 medium bunch green spring onions, finely sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2-3 ounces cotija cheese* crumbled
- 1 teaspoon chili powder to taste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt more to taste
Heat oil in a medium size skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, swirling the pan a few times to keep the garlic from browning. Set aside to cool while you prepare the corn.
Place two ears of corn at a time, in a gallon size ziplock bag. Wet your fingers under the faucet and sprinkle a bit of water into the bag with your hand (just a bit, probably about a teaspoon). Seal the bag and place in microwave for 3 ½ minutes. Corn should be crisp-tender and the kernels should not be wrinkled. If they are wrinkled after the first two ears, reduce the cooking time a bit. Microwaves vary widely in intensity. Remove ears from bag onto a cutting board or work surface to cool a bit. Repeat till all 8 ears are cooked.
When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a fairly large bowl.
Add garlic (and oil), jalapeño, green onions and cilantro. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine mayo, lime juice, cotija cheese, chili powder and salt. Whisk till smooth. Add to corn mixture and stir to combine.
Taste and add more salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature. To warm, just place in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Garnish with more cilantro, a bit of finely diced jalapeño and a sprinkle of chili powder, if desired. The cotija cheese pretty much "melts" into the delicious sauce, so if you want to sprinkle a little more on the top as a garnish, that would be pretty too.
* Cojita is a cheese originating in Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It's a fairly hard, crumbly cheese and is used mostly in Mexican dishes. I think of it as the Mexican parmesan, although the flavor is different.
You could also use Queso Fresco or even Feta if you can't find the Mexican cheeses.
This is the 4th time I've made this, and we absolutely love it! I have used both fresh and pickled jalapeño, with my favorite being a combination of the two for both heat and vinegary tang. It's also great with a little less mayo and a dollop of sour cream in the dressing. Feta cheese is a great sub when cotija isn't available. We've had this with fish, chicken and steak. It's so versatile and has become a go-to side dish. Thanks so much for it!
Chris Scheuer says
Thanks so much, Amanda! Love the pickled jalapeno addition!
Kathryn R Hill says
I'm not writing this with the idea that it would be published. Just want to share another corn idea with you.
Thanks for your recipes. Just made Blueberry Muffins using frozen wild berries that were added last. Delicious, but blue throughout!
May I share another easy corn recipe with you? Flavors are really good! Also, I like the color mix.
Amounts are varied, so I just wing it.
Saute diced onions in butter. Set aside.
Add kernels cut off of the cob and cook until they are the doneness that you like.
Combine with onions.
S & P. Optional: sprinkle with paprika or other herbs or spices.
Take off the heat and add as much chopped olives stuffed with pimentos as you wish.
Chris Scheuer says
Yum, that sounds delicious, Kathryn!
Could frozen corn be substituted?
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Lou, you could use frozen corn although the flavor and crisp texture of fresh is best.
Jill Morris says
Just a quick question on this dip!;) If I did not want to grill the corn do you know about how much 8 ears equals when measuring in cups?
I cannot wait you make it!
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Jill, that would be approximately 6 cups. Each ear of corn is about 3/4 cup.