Easy-Street Corn

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.


Elote Salad

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.



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