Wednesday, September 3

How to Make Elote, or Mexican Grilled Corn

Mexican grilled corn


Three years ago I discovered something at the farmers' market that changed my life: it's called elote (Mexican grilled corn).

Despite the fact that it was only 10:30 in the morning, the aroma of smoky grilled corn lured Jeff and me to a stand where open grills were covered with plump ears of roasting corn. As soon as each ear was cooked it was quickly jammed onto a stick then drowned in a lime-spiked mayonnaise sauce, rolled in crumbly cotija anejo cheese and sprinkled with lime juice and cayenne pepper. Each customer's eyes widened in anticipation when handed this unusual treat.

Since that day, I have learned that the Spanish word "elote" can refer to corn or to grilled corn and that it's a common street food in many parts of Mexico. Like the famed fish taco, grilled corn is classic street food: unpretentious yet remarkable in its unique flavor. It's hot and creamy and salty and spicy, and utterly, wholeheartedly addictive.

You don't have to live in Southern California to experience Mexican grilled corn; it's easy to make at home (which you simply must do before the end of corn season). Just be sure to have lots of napkins on hand. You'll need them. Or if it’s just too messy for you, then cut off the grilled kernels, mix them with the ingredients, and eat it with a spoon. It may be neater, but it’s not nearly as much fun.

Elote, or Mexican Grilled Corn
Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

4 ears sweet corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper of chile powder
salt, to taste
2/3 cup crumbled cotija anejo cheese
lime wedges
extra cayenne pepper of chile powder, for sprinkling
fresh finely chopped cilantro for optional garnish


Soak corn (in husks) in cold water for 25-30 minutes.

Prepare a medium-hot grill. Peel back the corn husks leaving them attached at the end. Remove the silk. Pull the husks back up and tie with a spare piece of husk or a small piece of cooking twine. Place the ears on the grill. Cook 20-25 minutes, turning several times to ensure even roasting. The kernels should be soft when fully cooked.

If you’d like the kernels more charred, then simply follow the above instructions, but cook in husks for 15 minutes only. Then cool ears slightly, pull back the husks (to use as handles) and place the ears directly on the grill (with husks overhanging the side) for 5-7 minutes, or until they reach desired level of charring.

Place crumbled cheese on a plate large enough to fit an ear of corn. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, cayenne pepper or chile powder, and salt. When the corn is cooked, brush each ear with some mayo sauce then roll in the cheese. Serve with lime wedges, additional cayenne pepper or chile powder, and fresh finely chopped cilantro.

** Cotija anejo, a mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, can be found in Mexican markets or in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets. Queso fresco, another mild Mexican cheese, is a good substitute and also can be found in most major supermarkets.

Note: If you are unable to grill outdoors, then you can oven roast the corn. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place corn in husks (no need to soak first) directly on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until corn is soft to the touch. Allow to cool slightly, then remove husks and silks, and add toppings.


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58 comments:

Manggy said...

Wow! The mayo is quite unexpected. But I know it's good, I can see the chili and the lime! Yum!

Peter G said...

I've never tried corn like this! looks absolutely amazing. All those different flavours certainly make this a worthwhile treat.

janelle said...

I love grilled veggies, esp. corn, and I never thought to add cheese!

Melody Polakow said...

That looks soooooo good...

Darius T. Williams said...

What's amazing is that here in Chicago, you can walk down any street, any time of day in certain neighborhoods and get fresh elote...for a dollar!

It's sooo good...I ask them to hold the mayo though.

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Culinarywannabe said...

Oh my fiance loves loves loves Mexican corn. They setup street fairs on our street a few times each summer, and at the last one he ate 5 whole corns! It was insane. Thank-you for sharing and making him one happy camper tonight!

Ms Meghan said...

I saw this (and listened to you) on NPR, yay!

aria said...

mmmmmmmm foodbloggah! droool - those look soooo delicious. i need to get some corn immediately :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Corn and cheese??? You're making me crazy! Happy, but crazy!!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Simply amazing & what fab flavours Susan. Never heard of mayo on corn! Sounds great to me...love the lime & chili & the interesting cheese too. Thanks for the oven version too.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

In a pinch you can use feta or ricotta salata as a substitute for Mexican cheeses. I love elote -- it's improbable, but oh so good.

chefectomy said...

Taking all my San Diego border secrets...:) For those that don't like the mayo aspect you can use honey and cayenne with the lime and cheese, always delicious!!!

Love the oven version idea, thanks!

--Marc

Heather said...

hmmm, i'm not sold on the mayo, but chili and lime! that sounds delicious! and cilantro, too! i am in love. farmers markets are good for so many wonderful things!!!

Brilynn said...

That sounds like an excellent way to do corn. I already love it grilled and this just takes it to a whole other level!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I'm surprised at the mayo, but I'll take this. Looks fantastic!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Yummy! It looks delicious! A great mix of ingredients!

Cheers,

Rosa

Meeta said...

I love this! corn with lovely flavors without too much hassle. for a corn lover like me this could not be better!

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

Oh, that looks so yummy...everyone here actually loves corn, and yours look just perfectly cooked. Yum.

Maryann said...

That looks delicious, Susan! We have wonderfully sweet corn here in the hudson valley..this would be a great way to dress it up! haha
Hope you are well.
Hugs!
Maryann xox

Kendra said...

My boyfriend visits mexico every year to do research and always comes back talking about the "mayonnaise corn."

I guess now I don't have an excuse not to make it for him!

NĂºria said...

This looks amazing Susan, but why there's always cheese involved? We don't have this habbit here, but I do like corn... sweet corn!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

mark-You'd be surprised at its creamy deliciousness.

peter-I really hope you try it; you won't be disappointed.

janelle-Give it a try!

melody-Thanks!

darious-$1? Are you kidding me? Wow!

culinarywannabe-Oh, I'm so happy to hear he's an elote-lover. I hope you do make it!

meghan-Really? Thanks!

aria-Hurry before the season ends!

tw-And it's crazy delicious!

deeba-You're so welcome! I like roasting it in oven when I need to prepare other dishes in the kitchen.

lydia-I haven't tried those yet.

marc-I love honey on corn, though I haven't used it for elote, specifically.

heather-You'd be surprised how good the mayo is. I was iffy at first too, but now I'm a convert.

brilynn-It really is fantastic!

ecv-Thanks!

rosa-Glad you like it.

meeta-Happy eating!

anna-I hope you like it.

maryann-You do have great corn in that part of the country.

kendra-How funny. Nope. No excuses anymore. :)

nuria-I don't know why. All I know is that it's delicious.

Patricia Scarpin said...

My brother, who is the pickiest eater ever, loves grilled corn, Susan. Must make it for him!

glutenfreeforgood said...

I've been addicted to fish tacos lately and also have a bunch of farm fresh corn. Love your recipe for the corn. Yum! Nice idea to grill it and then dust it with southwest seasonings. I'll try it soon. Thanks!
Melissa

didally said...

Mayo, lime and chilli on grilled corns, very interesting idea. All I ever had was just butter and salt on grilled corn.

YankeeSoaper said...

This looks scrumptious Susan! I just got to try Colombian roasted corn a few weeks ago, that we just loved.. the mayo in this recipe has me very curious now and we've been having corn nightly before the season passes. Thx for sharing this one.. I'm definitely going to try it!

Cynthia said...

Gosh I would really like to taste that.

RecipeGirl said...

I've not seen it at our Farmer's Markets, but I've made something very similar. It actually sounds gross with that mayo, but it's soooo good!

Jyothsna said...

I'd like to taste that!

Jenny said...

Talk about gorgeous corn! I'd love to have some this very instant. Your pictures are just perfect.

Aparna said...

That description of the corn being grilled and coated has my mouth watering , Susan.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

patricia-He'll love you forever! :)

gffg-I hope you do. And they're terrific with fish tacos!

didally-It's a delicious change.

yankeesoaper-MMmmm.. Colombian roasted corn must be scrumptious too.

cynthia-You'd love it!

lori-It is.

jyothsna-You'd like it, I'm sure.

jenny-Thank you kindly!

aparna-That's great to hear. Thanks!

Anna at Mediocre Chocolate said...

I just had to thank you for the wonderful inspiration! I opted to make a lime vinaigrette with chili and cumin instead of the mayonnaise, but the flavors were all there. With the cotija cheese and the smokiness from the grill, it was really fantastic. Wonderful post!

Pearlsofeast said...

Bookmarked Susan!.Drooling over the picture and nice description.In fact I have some fresh corns so I feel tempted to try out.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Susan, I meant to tell you before, but I heared you on a food podcast the other day talking about corn! I just remembered now that I saw the corn here! Well done! I really enjoyed listening!

We Are Never Full said...

this is one of my favorites. just a head's up - if your readers can't find cotija - even though it is clearly NOT authentic or traditional - feta that is ground finely works very well.

Holler said...

Oh, that does sound good! Much better than plain old butter!

cooknkate said...

We love our grilled corn and have basically OD'd on it in the last few weeks. I make lime cream spiked with chipotle powder or a little chipotle in adobo, some cumin and a sprinkle of sea salt. Like I said....we've OD'd.

Jude said...

Love this stuff. There's a Sundays-only street market in Chicago that serves a mean grilled corn with all the trimmings.

Nora B. said...

This looks great, Susan. Amazing how satisfying a simple freshly grilled corn on the corb can taste. I don't think I've had cotija anejo cheese before.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Simply awesome recipe. Yuuuuuumy too.

Jeanne said...

Mayo! On corn!! God bless the Mexicans. I have never even heard of this way of serving corn, but I am certainly going to give it a try if I can still find corn around here... Thanks for an inspiring recipe!

Jaime said...

mmmm i can just taste the flavors of that corn!

Sharon said...

Hi!
I've never tried grilled Mexican corn before. This sounds so delicious, I must try it. Thanks for the recipe!
Sharon
Medical Transcription Student
www.meditec.com
http://www.myspace.com/workingfromhomemom

Eric said...

So good! I added some smoked paprika at the end. Thanks!!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

eric-Thanks for letting me know! Glad to hear it.

CY said...

i love you i love you!! thanks for posting this!! i once tried one in a cafe in Soho, NY and never being able to forget its taste !!! thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

I think you are missing one ingredient. it took me a while to figure them out, but the last one, which of course can be optional, is Parkay. Its optional though. and there are variations.

ibeeflower said...

I love elote. We buy it from vendors, or make it ourselves. For those that think putting mayo is weird..it's not. It is very common in Mexico, and Texas. I live in South Texas and we put all the ingredients listed except lime, but it sounds even more delicious.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

ibeeflower-I'm so happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment.

Margot said...

Another great recipe for grilled corn! Love it :)

Anonymous said...

Had Elote recently at Elote in Sedona, Arizona...It is off the cob in a dish eaten with corn chips. I have thought of nothing else since.
YUM

Jaclyn Coy said...

We have a place in Memphis called Deli Mexicana that serves Elote. After first experiencing it, we have made it countless times at home. I guessed on the recipe at the time. Looks like I had all of it except the unexpected-Mayo! Not a big mayo fan but just to be true to the Elote, I will try it.
Thanks for the wonderful post!
Mrs. @ http://onenightaweek.wordpress.com/

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jaclyn-You're quite welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jaclyn-You're quite welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

the first time i heard of the "Mayo" i thought...no way...but i tried it and i wont eat corn on the cob any other way now...it is fab!

IJustMadeThatUp said...

This was amazing!! Thank you so much for this glorious recipe (I also may have posted a link to this recipe on my blog, I was so impressed hehe).

Only thing was, we didn't have coriander, so I used flat leafed parsley which I think was delicious.

Jacqueline said...

this looks really good! i've never tried it though. i just saw a pic of something like this on the Taste Spotting website. would it be ok to link to your post?? i love that you have a recipe available!

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