Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elote

Elote, or Mexican "street" corn, is grilled or boiled corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise, cheese (cotija usually), and topped off with lime juice. I had never had it, but I did have a recipe, and Anna had intrigued me by talking about how popular it was down in Mexico... and not only that, it's corn season pretty much everywhere right now, so it is quite easy to get some locally grown stuff.
The recipe I used called for queso fresco(which is like feta) instead of cojita(which is a hard cheese and more like parmesan). In addition, the corn is broiled instead of grilled or boiled, so even people like me, who don't have backyards, can get that nice browned and charred effect.
The recipe is very simple and shouldn't provide too many issues... I got the queso fresco in my regular Supermarket, not a specialty store or Whole Foods or anything... but you can substitute Farmer's Cheese or Feta if you need to. Also, I'm not sure if my broiler just sucks, but I found the recipe's recommendations to be way off the mark... so I'll put the "official" times and directions in, but explain where I diverged from the printed word.
Broiled Corn
  • 6 Ears of corn, husks and silks removed, but keep the stalk if you can.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
  • 1 medium garlic clove minced or garlic pressed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz queso fresco crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
Garnish
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
Directions
  1. Depending on your oven, you might need to adjust your oven rack to get it near the heating element... the recipe says 5-6 inches, but at least with my broiler (the "on the bottom of the oven" kind) that wasn't nearly close enough... by the end, I had the corn on the second highest position. Turn on your broiler. Take your broiler pan or cookie sheet and cover it with aluminum foil. Brush the corn with the olive oil, place it in the lined pan, and put it under the broiler.
  2. The recipe says about 10 minutes, or until well browned, flip it over and go for another 10 minutes. There are two problems with this, the first, as mentioned above, is that it takes a lot longer than 10 minutes if your corn is 5-6 inches from the heat (at least with my broiler)... so move it closer and keep an eye on it... second, what about the other sides? Doing it this way you'll end up with 2 brown and 2 raw sides... so I kept checking and rotating. As the corn gets more browned, it takes less and less time to do the other sides... so I don't think it's a huge burden, though it means paying a lot more attention.
  3. Anyway, during that initial 10 minute broil, you can pretty quickly put the sauce together. Just stir it all together in a bowl until it's uniform.
  4. Once the corn is fully browned, brush each cob (on all sides) with the sauce and then put it back under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese looks slightly browned.
  5. Remove the corn from heat and brush each cob on all sides with the sauce.
  6. Serve it with the lime wedges and any left over sauce.

I really liked it. Sweet, cheesy, spicy, and tangy... all at the same time. I was a little dubious about the mayonnaise at first... I'm not a huge fan... but the heat really did something weird to it, that somehow turned it delicious. The lime juice squeeze at the table is key, so don't forget the wedges.

I definitely recommend anyone looking for something interesting to do with a bounty of corn to give this a try.

UPDATE 6/25/12: Changed the recipe to reflect how I currently do it (i.e I do not put the corn back under the broiler once I brush with the sauce... residual heat is more than sufficient to do the job).