June 11, 2019

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites)

An easy recipe for Esquites - or Mexican Street Corn - served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.


I don’t have some amazing story about how I first came to try Mexican Street Corn. I wasn’t hiking through Guadalajara, I wasn’t at some resort in Cabo…

I... errrrm… well, I fell in love with it at Chili’s. Ha!

And considering it’s almost always overcooked and most assuredly started out as frozen corn, the fact that I love it anyway made me want to cook it myself!

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.

Traditional Mexican Street Corn can be served on the cob (Elotes) or cut off the cob (Esquites) Both dishes have the basic same ingredients: grilled fresh corn, mayo, chopped cilantro, cotija cheese, chili powder and lime juice.

There are a gozillion variations of it too.

Instead of mayo, crema can be used. Instead of chili powder, cayenne pepper can be used. Instead of cotija (which is sort of a Mexican parmesan), feta or queso fresco can be used.

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.
The first time I set out to make this, I decided to make Esquites, which takes all the best ingredients of Elotes and makes it into a side dish. Most folks refer to this preparation as Mexican Street Corn Salad (even though it’s served warm).

Unless we have the grill cranked up anyway, I usually don’t bother grilling the corn. To get the same roasted flavor you get from grilling the corn, what I do instead is to cut the corn kernels off the cob then roast the corn under the broiler.

By cooking my corn under the broiler, I still get a little bit of char and tons of flavor like you get from the grill.

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.

The best thing about broiling it, though, is that I can prep everything else, quickly cook the corn then assemble everything in minutes which is super easy when we’re entertaining.

Though most recipes call for cotija, both queso fresco and cotija are widely used for Mexican Street Corn and I definitely prefer queso fresco.

Cotija is a firmer cheese whereas queso fresco is a little softer. Both are crumbling cheeses so just use whichever you can find. This is the one I use the most.

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.

You can use a fork to crumble the cheese or grate it with a box grater. I use the fine side of my box grater which yields very fine bits of the cheese with plenty of crumbled chunks breaking off too which I think yields the best of both worlds.

You definitely want to assemble this dish when the corn is hot so that it softens up the cheese. The cheese doesn’t melt, exactly, but it does become creamy.

This heats up easily in the microwave if you prefer to eat it hot but it’s also perfectly delicious at room temperature.

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.

If you want to serve this on the cob (Elotes), simply combine the mayo, lime juice, salt and garlic powder to make a spread. When ready to serve, slather each cob with the mayo spread then sprinkle the cob with the grated cheese, cilantro and chili powder.

I haven’t done it yet but I’m dying have a Mexican themed party with carnitas and maybe grilled shrimp and chicken seasoned in Mexican spices then set up a Mexican Street Corn bar!

Skewer corn cobs with wooden skewers (corndog style) then grill. Each person can take their hot grilled corn to the “bar” which will have the spread (2 paragraphs up), chopped cilantro, crumbled queso fresco or cotija and a shaker of chili powder. How FUN would that be?!

Mexican Street Corn (Esquites) served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.


Mexican Street Corn


Yield: 8-10 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 5 Mtotal time: 20 M
An easy recipe for Esquites - or Mexican Street Corn - served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.

ingredients:

  • 6 cups fresh corn (from 6-7 cobs)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated or crumbled queso fresco (see notes)
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 cup diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • Additional queso fresco, cilantro and chili powder

instructions:

How to cook Mexican Street Corn

  1. Cut kernels off corn cobs then add to a large mixing bowl. Add butter then toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer onto a very large sheet pan (or two 13x9 pans). Move oven rack to highest position then heat broiler on high with oven door ajar. Broil corn under high heat with oven door ajar for about 5 minutes or until a few of the kernels begin to char.
  2. Remove corn from oven then add back to the mixing bowl. Add mayo, cheese, lime juice, onions, cilantro, salt, garlic powder and chili powder then mix to combine. Taste for seasoning then add more salt and spices if desired.
  3. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl then top with additional queso fresco, cilantro and chili powder. Serve warm.

NOTES:

You can totally grill the corn on the cob to achieve the classic char of street corn instead of broiling it. You can also sauté the corn in a piping hot skillet.
You can also use cotija cheese in this if you would like but I enjoy the smoother texture of the queso fresco. I grate mine with the fine side of my box grater.
To reheat, cover then heat on high in the microwave until hot. Add more mayo once reheated if desired.
Mexican street corn, salad, Elotes, Esquites, grilled corn, chili’s, cotija, cilantro, side dish, food truck, recipe, how to, easy, best
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This recipe was shared at the Weekend Potluck!

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An easy recipe for Esquites - or Mexican Street Corn - served off the cob as a side dish or warm salad with Mexican crumbling cheese, a creamy spread, fresh cilantro and chili powder.


3 comments:

  1. yummy , Thanks! Will try this for Father's day .

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks a lot less messy than on the cob. I'm going to have to make this soon!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You can also "roast" your corn (on the cob) in an air fryer and get those little charred bits on some of it! I usually do about 8-10 minutes for just a couple smaller ears, or up to about 12 minutes for larger ears. I start by spritzing with just a touch of oil then cooking at 350 degrees for five minutes then turn them around and go up to 400 degrees for the rest of the cooking time.

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy