This is based on a dish that I’ve long wanted to try: Mexican Street Corn (elotes). I was recently reminded of my interest when some friends had a Mexican-themed dinner party and someone brought all the fixings and then made the dish for everyone. It was so good!
What stopped me from making this dish before is that I don’t like buying corn on the cob out of season. By the time it gets to me much of the sugar in the kernels has converted to starch and the taste is nowhere near as good as when it’s fresh. The solution is this salad (esquites), made with frozen corn instead of fresh.
Though I made this a little too late for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations this year, I do have it up my sleeve for this year’s BBQ season or any other time of the year actually. Hurray! (Olé!)
Start with the corn. I didn’t bother to thaw it first, figuring it would get thawed in the frypan.
While the corn is charring, get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Add the mayonnaise and crumbled feta to the serving bowl.
Green onions, cilantro, lime and jalapeño pepper.
Afraid of making this too hot, I used half the jalapeño. Next time: all of it!
Slice, chop, then add all the green ingredients to the bowl.
Get the garlic in there too.
Leaving the corn alone while prepping the rest of the ingredients means there are browned spots on the kernels, which is exactly what I wanted. Add the corn to the other ingredients.
Pour in the lime juice.
Toss all the ingredients then sprinkle the chili powder over.
Mexican Street Corn Salad served with a steak.
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Smoky, sweet, spicy, and tangy, esquites are the off-the-cob version of elotes — grilled Mexican street corn slathered with creamy, cheesy, lime-scented, chili-flecked sauce. In this version, we char the corn on the stovetop, though a trip to the grill wouldn’t hurt.
Yield: serves 4
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed (about 3 cups fresh corn kernels)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 ounces feta or cotija cheese, finely crumbled
1/2 cup finely sliced scallion greens
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced on a Microplane grater (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lime
Chili powder or hot chili flakes, to taste
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels, season to taste with salt, toss once or twice and cook without moving until charred on one side, about 2 minutes. Toss corn, stir, and repeat until charred on the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add mayonnaise, cheese, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, and chili powder and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more chili powder to taste. Serve immediately.