Smoky, sweet, spicy, and tangy, esquites are the off-the-cob version of elotes—grilled Mexican street corn slathered with creamy, cheesy, lime-scented, chili-flecked sauce. In this version, we char the corn on the stovetop, though a trip to the grill wouldn't hurt.
Why It Works
- A combination of garlic, mayonnaise, cheese, lime, and chili in the sauce ensures the salad comes out incredibly flavorful.
- Cutting the kernels off the cob first, then cooking them over high heat, allows you to get a nice char on the corn without having to use the grill.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
- 4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed (about 3 cups fresh corn kernels)
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) mayonnaise
- 2 ounces (60g) feta or Cotija cheese, finely crumbled
- 1/2 cup finely sliced scallions, green parts only
- 1/2 cup (1/2 ounce) fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced on a Microplane grater (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lime
- Chili powder or hot chili flakes, to taste
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels, season to taste with salt, toss once or twice, and cook without moving until charred on one side, about 2 minutes. Toss corn, stir, and repeat until charred on second side, about 2 minutes longer. Continue tossing and charring until corn is well charred all over, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add mayonnaise, cheese, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, and chili powder and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more chili powder to taste. Serve immediately.