This is a delicious, remarkably easy and very tasty side dish for those evenings you feel like grilling. In fact, this is so tasty you may not want anything else. Just make sure you make enough for seconds, and perhaps thirds, as this may be the most popular part of the meal.
Inasmuch as the weather has been cooler, we are starting to grill a little more. So, on today’s menu is a little street food from Mexico known as elotes asados, grilled corn on the cob. Now, many of you are thinking corn is maiz in Spanish and you are right. Maiz means the kernels of corn or the grain itself. Elote, however, means corn on the cob and elotes asados is a traditional Mexican food. In Mexico, it’s sold from street carts along the highways and at street corners. It’s sold in virtually all markets, at fairs and fiestas. There perhaps is nothing more traditional than elote asados and it may well be the quintessential Mexican street food. The husk is peeled from the corn and tied so you can use it as a corn holder and avoid getting your hands all messy. Then, the corn is lightly oiled, seasoned with a little salt and grilled over a hot fire to get those nice tasty, roasty-toasty little caramelized, charred bits. Next, it is slathered with mayonnaise, Mexican crema, butter or sour cream, followed by a sprinkling with cotija cheese, red chile powder and then drizzled with lime. If you want, you can also sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Now, I’m not a big proponent of mayo but it does have its uses and if you have never tried corn on the cob or mashed potatoes with mayonnaise you need to fix that soon. The mayonnaise adds a creamy butteriness to the corn with just a hint of tang and sweetness. It is the perfect accompaniment for elote asados. If, however, you simply can’t wrap your head around the mayo on corn, you can use Mexican crema, butter or sour cream, instead. The choice is up to you as it is with all of the toppings. Whatever you do I would strongly suggest you try this with the chile and lime juice because those two flavors are always a match made in heaven. Coupled with the sweet corn and the pungent, salty, somewhat nutty flavor of the cotija cheese, you will be in ultimate epicurean bliss.
This is such a wonderful dish. It’s so flavorful, so easy to prepare and fun, too. It’s perfect for family barbecues and those nights you simply want to grill outside and enjoy the beauty of nature around you. It’s also a fun presentation and beats using those little corn holders or a stick. Your kids and guests will get a kick out of the husks as holders. Guaranteed to please, your kids will love this and you will, too. It is tremendously flavorful and you will wonder why you hadn’t thought about doing this long before. So, while you still can get beautifully fresh, organic/non GMO corn at your local markets give this dish a try. You will be glad you did.
- Corn on the cob, husk still attached (organic/non GMO corn – it’s better for you)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Mayonnaise (or substitute Mexican crema, butter or sour cream)
- cotija cheese
- red chile powder
- lime juice
Now, a couple of words about the ingredients. First, this isn’t rocket science so I’m not going to give you measurements in this recipe. It’s kinda like a buffet omelet. Go to the bar, tell the cook making your omelet what you want and how much. It’s all up to you. For us, 1 lime worked great for 2 ears. You may like more or less lime. It’s the same with the rest of the ingredients. Fix it your way however you like.
Second, with respect to the red chile powder, make your own unless you can buy 100% chile powder somewhere, like Penzy’s. Store bought chili powder has garlic, oregano and cumin added to the chile powder. It’s also a much lower grade of chile powder with the seeds, stems and ribbing also ground into the resulting chile powder. Making your own also allows you to use only the flesh of the chiles not the seeds, stems and membranes which are bitter. It also allows you to use the chiles of your choice thereby achieving the flavors you want. Last, it allows you to control the level of heat in the resulting chile powder. Personally, I like a chile blend of anywhere between 4 – 6 different chiles.
Last, cotija cheese is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made mainly from cow’s milk. It is a strong-flavored, aged cheese, making it a bit dry, salty, and almost granular in texture. Often served crumbled, Cotija doesn’t melt so much as soften. Because it does not actually melt, it is used for grating on salads, soups, casseroles, tacos, tostadas and, in this instance, grilled corn. If you can’t find cotija cheese, you can use parmesan as a substitute although it won’t be nearly as good.
Preheat your grill. Next, peel the corn somewhat similar to peeling a banana where you pull the husk down in sections close to the base of the cob but do not remove from the cob.
Once you have peeled all of the husk leaves back, pull them together and tightly secure them with cotton twine.
The husk will provide you a holder to eat the corn.
Now, oil a paper towel, and lightly coat the corn with oil.
Next. sprinkle the corn with salt.
Now, place the corn on the grill over a very hot flame and grill the corn.
Notice the aluminum guard at the bottom of the photo. This guard prevents the husks from burning. Also, you want the corn to grill and caramelize the sugars in the corn. So, this is going to take a little while. You will hear the corn pop and don’t worry and get all anxious about turning the corn. Be patient. When the kernels have turned brown, some may have blackened, turn the corn slightly to grill the next few rows. Repeat the process until all of the corn has grilled.
Once the corn has grilled, slather it in mayonnaise.
Now, sprinkle it generously with cotija cheese,
and red chile powder
Finish with a generous squeeze of lime.
Serve & enjoy! Baby Lady loves this so much she made me make it the following day for lunch.