We should all take advantage of the fact that corn is at its best right now. Every single time I go to the market, I’m lured by the bright green husks and promise of sweet, tasty corn. Elote (direct translation: corn on the cob) is Mexican corn sold by street vendors. Traditionally it’s served with a smear of mayonnaise, sprinkle of Cotija cheese, Ancho chile powder and served piping hot. It’s simple, easy to prepare and seriously blissful.
Like all simple things, the devil is in the details and really it’s all up to personal preference. Of course there are people who say it must be topped with mayonnaise, but I prefer using Mexican crema or for a fancier rendition, creme fraiche. If you can’t find either, sour cream will also work.
One of my favorite things to do is cut the corn kernels off the cob and make a salad with all of the ingredients. It’s a perfect side salad for a BBQ and great for a make-ahead dish. I’ve included directions for the classic version and the salad. You can’t really go wrong with either; it’s summer at its best.
Elote (Mexican Corn on the Cob)
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for grill
- 4 ears of corn, husks pulled back, washed and tied
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema or mayonnaise or sour cream
- 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese or feta
- 1 tablespoon ground Ancho chile pepper
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Handful of cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Turn your grill to high heat. Brush the grates with olive oil or vegetable so the corn doesn't stick. Place the corn on the grill, rotating them every 30 seconds or so to ensure even cooking/charring. Cook until the corn is browned and lightly charred. Transfer corn to a large serving plate.
- Top each cob with a tablespoon of crema, a liberal sprinkling of cotija cheese and a few pinches of Ancho chile pepper. Garnish the plate with a few wedges of lime and cilantro leaves.
- If you'd like to make an Elote Salad, cut the kernels off the cob. Transfer them to a bowl. Add the Mexican crema, cotija cheese and ancho chile pepper. Toss the entire thing together and salt to taste. Feel free to adjust any of the seasonings further. If you'd like, you can finely chop the cilantro leaves and fold those in as well. Serve with lime wedges.
Yield: 2-4 servings
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.