Make sweet corn ‘street corn’ with Mexican flavors

Some foods, as I’ve been known to jest, are primarily vehicles for mayonnaise.

Elotes, Mexican street corn, could be considered one of them, if it wasn’t for corn bursting with both flavor and texture this time of year. The recipe was highlighted in this week’s A la Carte, along with other variations of corn on the cob perfect for high summer.

Corn on the cob certainly constitutes a hand-held snack that can be consumed on the run. But the spreads, toppings, compound butters and bacon wrappers detailed in this week’s story wouldn’t be so easily packed up for picnics or potlucks. That’s when the concept calls for cutting kernels off the cob and combining them with traditional Mexican flavors for esquites, basically elotes as a salad.

Various riffs on esquites, including this recipe, are some of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy sweet corn. Here’s another version that can be made vegan with a soy milk-based mayonnaise and nutritional yeast instead of cheese. Or substitute the Sriracha mayo from this week’s food section. I will.

Tribune News Service photo

Rewarding Esquites

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

1 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

8 ears of corn, husks and silk removed

Canola oil cooking spray, as needed

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon chili powder

Lime wedges, for garnish (optional)

To make mayonnaise, use a 1-quart, wide-mouth canning jar and an immersion blender. (Alternatively, a food processor or blender will work.) Add the lime juice and soy milk to jar. Insert immersion blender into jar. With immersion blender running at its fastest speed, pour the oil in a constant, slow, thin steam into jar. It will take a couple of minutes, but liquid will thicken into mayonnaise consistency. Add agave nectar, pepper and salt; blend for a few seconds to combine.

For the corn, set oven to broil. Lightly mist ears of corn with some of the cooking spray; arrange on a baking sheet. Roast on center rack, rotating every 3 to 5 minutes, for 12 to 15 minutes total. Allow corn to cool until cool enough to handle.

Cut stem off cob; hold cob vertically, cut side down, in a shallow bowl. With a sharp knife, remove kernels from cob using a downward sawing motion. Repeat with all ears. Stir in 1 cup of mayonnaise; garnish with the nutritional yeast and chili powder.

Use as a filling for tacos or eat as is; give it a squeeze of lime before serving. Makes about 8 servings, or filling for 16 tacos.

Recipe from “The Taco Cleanse” by Wes Allison, Stephanie Bogdanich, Molly R. Frisinger and Jessica Morris.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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