If you aren't familiar with elote, or sometimes more commonly referred to as Mexican Corn, you have no idea what you're missing. Corn on the cob was one of those childhood veggies I was always on the fence with, between kernels constantly getting stuck in my teeth to the braces faze where it was next to impossible to eat. When I got older I took to removing it from the cob automatically if/when I deigned to eat it, which wasn't often. Jump to my first summer here in Manhattan (7 years ago! Has it really been that long?!?) and my co-workers are introducing me to the corn at Cafe Habana, and it forever changed my outlook of the vegetable.
Of course, when you take a grilled corn on the cob and smother it in mayo, dust it with chili powder, sprinkle... with a heavy hand mind you... cotija cheese all over it and then spritz with some lime, it's hard to be anti corn on the cob. Mexican corn will always remind me of summer, it brings me back to the days where I was still so overwhelmed with this city, in awe of the never ending heights and sprawl. I still am, too. There are still many times I'll splurge on a cab and just press my face against the glass and stare up, just the same as I did 7 years ago.
But I digress. I might not remember the exact first time I had this corn, but it was definitely in the heat of summer, sweating outside in the coolest kind of business casual in Nolita just to have a bite before heading back to work. Much the same as this past weekend, when I decided to make the salad version for a Memorial Day BBQ. Maybe not with the pretty char from my nonexistent outdoor grill but still nicely roasted, cooled and then tossed with the spiced mayo, cheese, lime mixture. Fresh and summer-y, and addictively delicious.
Mexican Corn Salad
4 ears of corn
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 Tbl. parmesan or crumbled cotija cheese
1 Tbl. fresh squeezed lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
1. Shuck corn and put on a heated stove top grill, turning frequently to keep from burning. Grill for approximately 10 minutes and then set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine the mayo with the chili powder, paprika, cumin and cheese.
2. With a sharp knife scrape the kernels off the corn into a bowl and add in the mayo mixture. Pour the lime over and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep cold prior to serving.