Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

A well-roasted corn kernel is smoky.  Chewy. Juicy. Irresistible.

This much, Mexicans know.

Some elote are cooked for hours inside clay ovens. They sit over shimmering coals until their bright yellow kernels turn deep, toasty brown and their husks turn brittle.*

Macedonio Alcalá Theater, Oaxaca by Ulises Estrada. Chichen Itza by Daniel Schwen..

Elote Macedonio Alcalá Theater, Oaxaca by Ulises Estrada. Chichen Itza by Daniel Schwen.

More simple recipes speed up the roasting process, but have triple-decker toppings: salty cotija cheese, rich mayonnaise (just enough to make the cheese stick), and smoky ancho chili powder.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Then the whole cob is sprinkled with cilantro and a good puckering of fresh lime juice. The end result is an ear of corn that is practically a meal in itself.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob


Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Ultimately, the lime juice is what sold me on elote. Even a single, tart wedge does wonders to bring the richly spiced corn into relief… though I found myself squeezing much more on each cob. One bite satisfies me almost as well as a good margarita does.

My version of elote takes extra limes into consideration as well as an interesting technique from America’s Test Kitchen – adding the ancho chili powder before grilling in order to bloom the flavor.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Friends, this recipe is a celebration of one simple fact: this is a quiet summer – and I insist it stay that way.

There’ll be no extra steps and definitely no fussy soaking of the corn. Next week I go through final proofs of my memoir before National Geographic sends it off to print. Once those are complete, I’m headed to visit my brothers and sister and their families… and I’m just going to… be.

With a bit of ocean on the side.

TOP: Arenas Bay by Cdw1952. BOTTOM: Bahia by Cdw1952.

TOP: Arenas Bay by Cdw1952. BOTTOM: Bahia de los Angeles, in the state of Baja California, Mexico. by Cdw1952.

Bahía de los Ángeles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 large ears corn, with husks still attached
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, plus more as needed
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups crumbled cotija cheese
a handful fresh cilantro leaves, torn
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges

Method:

Peel back the corn husks and tie back (I used raffia). Pull off the silk and discard. Mix together the vegetable oil and chili powder, then brush onto corn husks.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Grill over medium high until cooked through and nicely browned in areas, turning occasionally as needed. Position the husks away from the fire so they don’t burn. This should take about 20 minutes.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Brush with mayonnaise (Many recipes use much more than I do. I have to say – the more you use, the more cheese will stick.). Then roll in the crumbled cheese.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Sprinkle extra chili powder on the cobs if desired and douse with lime juice to taste.

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

And Ava’s verdict?

Hmmm…

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

But it’s messy mama…

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

Oh well… here goes nothin’!

Spiced Elote | Mexican corn on the cob

One of the great joys of parenting is when she tries food she’s apprehensive about!

Now it’s your turn! Enjoy … perhaps with some carne asada or a fun Five-step mole poblano!

Yum, yum.

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Comments

  1. Wow this is really great. The lime idea is fabulous although I am not sure if I can get cotija cheese. Maybe I can use Parmesan?

    Sasha that beach sure looks lovely. It says Bahia. Are you going to Brazil for a vacation?

    Oh the pictures are fabulous. The little one is growing up fast and looks so cute.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks Cinnamon – she’s really is growing fast. I found the cheese at Whole Foods… your local Hispanic market will have it, too. The beach – great question. There are many parts of Mexico called Bahia as well…this particular spot is on the California peninsula. I’ll update the caption to clarify – sorry about that!

      • Thanks for the clarification about Bahia. Be careful in Mexico. It’s not really safe. I know you are a World traveler, but be careful for the sake of the little one.

        • Oh we’re not headed there – that was just to set the mood for the recipe. The family we’re seeing is in virginia :) though I did enjoy the two times I was there. In Cabo we bought groceries at the local supermarket and picnicked on the beach :)

  2. The instructions say to brush the oil and ancho powder on the husks – is that right? Or is it supposed to be in the corn kernels? And if no BBQ available, how do you think this would work on a cast iron grill pan?

    Ava looks scrumptious!

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