John writes these articles to try to pass on any great recipes and tips that he's picked up during my culinary journeys.
There is nothing wrong with a fresh ear of corn steamed or boiled and served with butter and salt—nothing at all. But here’s a recipe that takes corn in a completely different direction, and it’s something that you should definitely try at least once.
This is Mexican street food at its finest. It’s fun to eat and, although it’s not particularly healthy, it compensates for its dubious nutritional scores with explosions of sweet, tangy, rich, salty, and spicy tastes in every bite. This is not your boring everyday backyard corn!
As pretty much a national snack food, there is no single correct way of preparing Mexican corn on the cob, but the recipe as follows is pretty traditional and pretty good.
- 4 ears of corn
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1–2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or any chili powder you like/have on hand, although finely ground chili powder works best)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Use cotija Mexican cheese if you can, although Parmesan cheese is a good substitute)
- Ideally, you want your corn to have a bit of a smoky/charred flavor and look, without being overpoweringly blackened. I find the best way to accomplish this is by briefly roasting the corn in its husk or steaming/boiling it until just barely cooked through (use whatever method you know and are comfortable with). Once it’s cooked through, transfer the (husked) corn to a preheated grill and turn it around the grill for 2 or 3 minutes to blacken the kernels slightly.
- Once finished on the grill, dip each ear of corn into the melted butter, turning to coat as completely as possible.
- Once coated in the butter, spoon, smear, or brush on the mayonnaise all over the four ears of corn. (I know this sounds weird, but it tastes great!)
- Once it's smeared with mayo, sprinkle your Parmesan cheese evenly between the four ears, sticking it into the mayo to adhere.
- Dust each ear of corn with chili powder, and then give each ear of corn a generous squeeze from a quarter segment of lime.
That’s it—easy, different, but so good. Try walking around with a platter of these and a pitcher of margaritas at your next backyard party, and see how quickly they disappear!