A couple weeks ago, an ear of grilled corn rolled into a couple bloops of mayo from my BLT, and I was reminded how much I like elotes, the Mexican street corn. So the next time I made corn (the next day, actually), I got out the mayo and the lime and the paprika and the cotija. And then I remembered why I never make elotes. They’re street food for a reason, best served on a stick and eaten with close to a Cheesesteak Lean, lest you have to quickwash your shirt, your shorts, the placemat, and your hair.
Let’s do this in a bowl instead.
This recipe serves two; scale it up as big as you want.
I added a diced Holy Mole pepper, a skinny and thin-skinned Pasilla variety with a nutty, slow-building, tangy heat. Poblano is good, too. To my taste, anything with many more Scoville units would mess with the balance of citrus, smoke, and sweet here, but if you’re a chili head, have at it.
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
- 1 small, diced hot pepper (optional)
- 1 heaping tbsp mayonnaisse
- juice of one small lime
- 1/8 tsp sweet paprika
- pinch of cayenne
- 2 tbsp crumbled cotija cheese (may substitute another relatively dry, crumbly cheese)
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
Grill the corn over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently, until it’s tender and spottily charred.
When the ears are cool enough to handle safely, use a very sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs. Put the kernels into a bowl, and knead through everything with your fingers to break up any “bricks” of kernels. Add the diced pepper (if you’re using), and give it all a toss.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the mayo, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, half the cheese, and half the cilantro. Add the dressing to the corn; stir to combine.
Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika), keeping in mind that the final layer of cheese will also add a little salt.
Just before serving, add the rest of the cheese and cilantro.
Refrigerate any leftovers in a sealed container. They’ll keep for a couple days. The remaindered spoonfuls of my last batch ended up, after augmenting with a crunchy, sweet, orange pepper, in a small batch of macaroni salad—no additional dressing required.