Mexican Corn Salad Inspired by Elote

Mexican Corn Salad Who doesn’t love great street food? Essentially street food is cheap, simple, and carries bold savory flavors. Throughout Mexico, the Southern United States, and cities with big Mexican populations, Elote is a summer favorite. “The fresh cob of Zea mays is called ‘elote’ in Spanish, when the kernels are soft and milky; once fully matured and dried, the kernels are called ‘maiz.’ In Yucatan, several distinct varieties can be found, varying in the size of the cob (which ranges anywhere from 3 to 8in./ 8-20 cm in length), the number of rows of kernels, the time to reach maturity, not to mention the color of the kernels; yellow, white, red, and blue.” (Sterling, 31)

Elote is essentially grilled corn on the cob with mayonnaise, fresh cheese, lime juice, and chili powder. Elote contains sweet, savory, acidic, and somewhat spicy flavors, which makes for a great dish. While Elote is undeniably delicious it has a bowled cousin called Esquites. Esquites uses mature kernels separated from the cob and is then sautéed generally in butter.

This recipe takes elements of both dishes and lies somewhere in between. The dish is served in a bowl as a corn salad, just like Esquites. However, the corn is grilled fresh just like Elote. In addition, I wanted to enhance the sweetness of the already beautifully sweet Indiana corn. I did this by putting a glaze on the corn to help caramelize and char while on the grill. The end result pays homage to both dishes and is exceptionally delicious.

Grilling Corn

Mexican Corn Salad inspired by Elote

  • 2 Ears of corn
  • 3 T Honey
  • 2 t Orange juice
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 T chili flakes
  • 2 T Mayonnaise
  • 2 t Unsalted butter
  • 1 Lime
  • 3 T Goat cheese, crumbled
Cooking Directions
  1. Grill husked corn over medium high heat, continually brush orange juice honey mixture for a nice charred glaze.
  2. Cut kernels off the cobs.
  3. Mix kernels with butter, mayonnaise, and chili flakes.
  4. Sprinkle goat cheese and chili powder over the kernel mixture, garnish with lime wedge
Total Time: 15 min

Citations and Further Readings:
  • Sterling, David. Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. N.p.: University of Texas Press, 2014. Print.
Photos by Jordan Henline


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