Sweet, creamy, cheesy and a little bit spicy, this Mexican street corn salad is the perfect side addition to any dinner, picnic or summertime cookout. Serve with grilled steak, chicken, fish and an ice cold refreshing Mexican beer and you’ve got yourself a fiesta!
If you love street corn, try this Mexican Street Corn Chowder!
To get you up to speed, let’s talk about mexican street corn aka elote. Elote is corn on the cob and is a popular street food in Mexico. You can find street vendors selling elote slathered in mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, cotija cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Esquites is the same thing as elote, except it’s served in a bowl, or cup, resembles a salad and you eat it with a spoon. Some people prefer to take the corn off of the cob, so this is the perfect solution to still be able to enjoy this delicious Mexican snack food. Although, I have made this recipe before and we’ve enjoyed it right off the cob. To each their own.
Just like there is nothing better than a garden tomato, there is nothing better than sweet corn come end of July. The creaminess of the corn is pure bliss and it’s a staple at my house come summertime. But, night after night it can get pretty boring to have the same piece of corn on the cob, smeared with butter, salt and pepper. Therefore, I’m always looking for ways to put corn to good use in other ways. Also, nothing beats a cool, refreshing salad in the summer, so this is a winner-winner in my book.
Corn is one of those vegetables I can get my children to eat without having to disguise it in some kind of burger, meatloaf or mac n cheese. They love corn just as much as we do and that makes for one happy mama. There is nothing worse than fighting at dinnertime for my children to eat. Can I get an Amen? Something is always too hot, too cold, too yellow, or my sister’s looking at me and I don’t want her to….uhhh, ok. Why can’t we just have a peaceful dinner like the families we see on T.V.? Oh, that’s not reality, well shoot. Growing up I always thought it’d be like Full House around here, guess I was mistaken.
When corn isn’t in season, you can easily use frozen corn, which is what I did, because the corn isn’t quite ready yet, but as soon as the corn is sweet, I’ll be making this again. You start by charring the corn in a cast iron skillet to caramelize the corn and make it even sweeter. Weather permitting, you can grill the corn outside and then cut it off the cob. Then you place the charred corn in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Top with cheese and a squeeze of lime juice and you’ve got a sweet and delicious side dish. AND it’s a two pan dish washing kind of night, one if you’re grilling the corn outside. Triple winner!
Like I said before, this corn salad is sweet, creamy, cheesy, a little spicy. You can adjust the seasonings and omit the heat if you or your kids aren’t fond of it. Also, you could experiment with other types of spices. Add in a little cumin or diced jalapenos, top with feta cheese instead of cotija, if your grocery store doesn’t carry it. Personalize this dish to make it your own.
So when corn season rolls around, please do me a favor and make this dish. My kids loved this and my daughter actually asked for more. YES! Three cheers for corn!!! It’s tasty and I promise you and your family will love it. Oh, and don’t forget it pairs wonderfully with a Mexican beer or paloma. ¡Salud!
Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)
Yield 8 servings (1/2 cup each)
Sweet, creamy, cheesy and a little bit spicy, this Mexican street corn salad is the perfect side addition to any dinner, picnic or summertime cookout. Serve with grilled steak, chicken, fish and an ice cold refreshing Mexican beer and you've got yourself a fiesta!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen whole-kernel corn, divided
- 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light, canola, regular) I used light
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- lime wedges for serving
- Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, making sure to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add half of corn (16 ounces) and 1 teaspoon sugar to hot skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, 3 minutes or until corn begins to brown on bottom. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat the same steps as above with remaining oil, corn and sugar.
- Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, chile powder, coriander, cayenne and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add corn to the bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese and chopped cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges on the side.
- The salad can be served warm or chilled.
*slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Courses Side Dish
Enjoy and if you make this recipe, please share a photo on social media and hashtag it #strawberryblondiekitchen I love to see your versions!