Why It Works
- Cooking shucked ears of corn on a hot grill brings out the corn's nutty flavor and chars the kernels slightly, balancing its natural sweetness.
- Adding XO sauce to the classic Cotija-mayonnaise mixture for Mexican street corn gives the dish an extra layer of savory depth as well as textural dimension.
For a riff on classic elotes (grilled Mexican street corn), fold XO sauce into the traditional mix of mayonnaise, crema, and salty Cotija cheese, before slathering it all over lightly charred ears of fresh, sweet corn. The spicy, sweet, and savory punch of XO gives the corn an umami boost, as well as textural contrast, with the chewy crunch of the XO's seafood and ham complementing the juicy pop of the corn kernels.
- 1/2 cup (100g) finely crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream or Mexican crema
- 1/4 cup (70g) XO sauce, store-bought or homemade
- 1/4 cup (25g) thinly sliced scallions
- 1 medium garlic clove (5g), minced
- 1 lime, zest finely grated, fruit cut into wedges, divided
- Pinch finely ground dried Thai chilies, plus more for serving (optional; see note)
- 4 ears sweet corn, shucked
Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
Meanwhile, combine cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, XO sauce, scallions, garlic, lime zest, and ground chilies (if using) in a large bowl. Using a flexible spatula, stir together until homogenous; set aside.
When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
Transfer corn to bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and ground chilies (if using) and serve immediately with lime wedges.
XO sauce packs a healthy amount of spicy background heat on its own, but an extra pinch of ground dried chilies will give the mayonnaise mixture more punch. Adjust the heat level of the sauce to your liking.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This dish is best enjoyed immediately. The mayonnaise mixture can be made ahead, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.