Sweet, fresh summer corn. It's the best, isn't it? The other day I found myself snacking on some raw kernels while waiting for pozole to cook*. When something is perfect as is right out of the ground, you know it's good!
*Hominy is weird, guys.
Usually, that's how I prefer to eat my summer corn, as unadulterated as possible. Either barely grilled or steamed and maybe seasoned with some butter, salt, and pepper. There's really no need to add anything else.
Except for everything I put in this salad.
Mexican street corn is something that I have never actually eaten or even seen in Mexico (you know, in all 3 of my trips to the border towns), but I have definitely seen a lot of it in restaurants, on TV and occasionally on my plate. Usually there is some variation of grilled corn with lime, chili powder, and mayo, maybe some cotija or cilantro to garnish. It's delicious, and extremely messy.
I wanted to make a version at home but I do not have a grill or even a grill pan (it's so tragic), so I would have to broil or cook my corn in a cast iron skillet to get any color on it. I didn't want my corn to be embarrassed without any grill marks to show off, so I turned it into a salad, which had the added bonus of allowing me to add veggies that would normally just fall off the cob. My cast iron pan and I are not friends right now so I broiled my corn. I tossed cherry tomatoes and radishes with lime zest, ancho chili powder and cilantro, added the corn and cotija, and the mayo mixed with lime juice to form a dressing. I don't know how to say "delicious" in Spanish but it was, and I got to eat it with a spoon like a lady! The hard part was stopping.
If you are a purist, you can leave your corn on the cob. If you can balance a cherry tomato on an ear of corn, send me a photo. That is some serious skill.
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Makes 4 servings, but no judgement if it turns into 1.
4 ears corn, shucked
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
4 radishes, sliced thinly
ancho chile powder, about 1/2-1 tsp, or to taste
zest of 1 lime
1/8 cup mayonnaise
lime juice from 1-3 limes (depending on the juiciness)
- Preheat broiler, place corn on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly brush or spray corn with vegetable oil. Once broiler is ready, roast the corn until all sides are golden and starting to char a little at the tips.
- Slice the kernels off the cob: once corn is cool enough to handle, hold onto the stem end of the corn and with a sharp knife cut down each side of the corn. You can do this directly onto the baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, toss together all other ingredients except mayonnaise and lime juice, and add the corn (if you've sliced the kernels off directly on to the baking sheet, just lift up the parchment or foil and slide kernels right into the bowl).
- Mix together mayonnaise and enough lime juice to make the dressing pretty runny. You want it to be able to coat everything and to taste pretty limey. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well coated. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
- If you have a grill, well, I'm jealous, but that would be a great way to char the corn. Alternately, a grill pan would work well too.