Elote is the Mexican name for grilled corn on the cob that is coated in spices and cheese. Esquites is everything from the cob removed and served basically as a corn salad. These salad recipes are also called Mexican street corn salad.
I’ve never gone crazy with the whole elote idea, mostly because it’s messy to eat that way. However, with the corn removed from the cob, other yummy ingredients added, plus a zingy dressing? I’ll eat that with a spoon!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
6 firm corn cobs in their husks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 purple onion, finely chopped
2 small red bell peppers, finely chopped
A dozen or so green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces feta cheese
1/3 cup good mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
Extra crumbled Mexican cheese or feta
Freshly chopped cilantro
Cayenne pepper flakes
Begin by “cooking” the corn cobs in the microwave. Wrap the cobs in a dish towel, and cook on high for 8 minutes. Let them cool in the microwave first for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the microwave.
When the corn cobs have cooled down, remove the husks and silk. With this microwave technique, they come off really easily. Roll the cobs in oil poured onto a flat surface like a jelly roll pan, to get the corn completely coated.
Using your gas stove top, grill the corn, just as you would roast chile peppers, until some of the corn is charred. Continue until all six have been grilled. Set pan aside to let the corn cool further.
Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender jar; set aside at room temperature. Refrigerate if not using right away.
Cut the corn off of the cobs, break them into smaller pieces and place The corn in a large serving bowl.
Add the onion, red bell peppers, green onions, and toss together well.
Add the dressing and stir. You might not want to add the whole amount if you’re not into heavy dressings.
To serve, sprinkle the salad with more cheese if desired, and cilantro, and offer cayenne pepper flakes for those who like spicy!
Cotija cheese is a popular crumbly Mexican cheese, but I find it too salty. If you like it, definitely use it, or use feta cheese.
The salad is mostly about the corn, but you could always include an avocado and/or tomatoes in the salad. And, you could also add white or black beans.
The basic salad ingredients can be tossed together ahead of time, but only add the onions right before serving.
If you want more smokiness, use a smoky paprika, and up the chipotle powder a bit.
note: If you want the corn to look more yellow, skip the grilling part.