August 18, 2013

Mexican Street Corn

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You don’t just eat Mexican Street Corn — you devour it. With its thick, creamy, cheesy, tangy, spicy coating, this grilled corn goes above and beyond. Consume it outdoors and wear your old clothes. It is as messy as it is delicious.

       Messy Mexican grilled corn. Credit: Susan Sampson


4 large ears corn
1/4 cup (60 mL) mayonnaise
1 tbsp (15 mL) crema or sour cream
1 tsp (5 mL) garlic salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
4 oz (120 g) cotija cheese, grated (1-1/2 cups/375 mL)
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro
Ancho chili powder to taste
1 lime, cut in 4 wedges

Grill corn in husks, using recipe for Corn on the Cob #4 (Grilled).

Meanwhile, in small measuring cup, stir together mayonnaise, crema or sour cream, garlic salt, kosher salt and pepper. In medium bowl, toss together cheese and cilantro. Divide cheese mixture into 4 portions, then refrigerate.

Brush each stripped ear of grilled corn generously with mayonnaise mixture. Transfer to platter. Scatter 1 portion cheese mixture over large plate. Roll 1 ear of corn in cheese mixture, pressing and patting to help coating adhere. Sprinkle with chili powder. Transfer to platter. Repeat with remaining corn.

Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over corn.

Makes 4 servings.

  • Remember to leave husks on grilled corn, to serve as handles and satisfy the eyes.

Elotes vs. Esquites: In Mexico, whole ears of grilled or boiled street-food corn are known as elotes. When corn kernels are sautéed and seasoned, they become esquites. (Try: Mexican Street Corn Salad.)

C is for Cotija: This Mexican cheese is salty and tangy, similar to feta but drier. Queso Duro Blando is considered a substitute, although this name can refer to any hard white, whole milk cheese, with some types blander, some peppier. If you don’t want to make a separate trip to the Mexican shop or cheese store, you may substitute firm cow’s milk feta, and grate it. Be warned, though – it will end up clumpier.

C is for Crema: Mexican sour cream is known as crema. It is similar to crème fraiche – milder and thinner than standard sour cream.

Oh No: Coating the corn is tricky. Don’t toss all the cheese coating on the plate at once and get rolling. Sure, the first ear of corn will be perfectly coated, but evenly coating the rest will become progressively more difficult. That’s because the warmth of the corn and the creamy mayo spread causes the cheese to clump.