Still very much not done with summery food.
Who’s with me?!
Despite seeing recipes for apple this, pumpkin spice that all over social media and actually seeing Christmas decorations up in a local Hallmark store last weekend (WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE), I’m pushing through with all the summer foods until Labor Day. It’s going to be in the 90s here this week, so yeah pumpkin anything is not sounding appealing.
BESIDES summer corn and tomatoes don’t really peak until the end of August/early September anyway. I don’t know the exact science but something about the cumulative heat concentrating all of their sweetness. (I may be making that up.)
So, yeah, not ready to move on from them anytime soon.
One of my absolute favorite ways to eat summer corn is in some form of Mexican Street Corn, otherwise called elote if it’s still on the cob or esquites if it’s in salad form.
If you’ve never had it before then (a) are you living under a rock (???) and (b) you are in for a real treat.
Biting into Mexican Street Corn Salad is an actual flavor explosion experience. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, smoky and it all just works together so well.
This recipe is based on one from the Nopalito cookbook, which is my go-to for authentic, fresh, and delicious Mexican food.
Whereas traditional esquites uses a combination of mayo, cotija, cayenne pepper, and lime juice to create the flavor contrasts that make it so addictive, here we’re relying on tangy whipped goat cheese, homemade smoky sultry chili powder, creamy queso fresco, and bright pico de gallo. It’s a little more sophisticated than the traditional version, but equally as tasty and just as easy to prepare.
You’ll start by charring your corn in a cast-iron skillet or griddle, which brings out its sweetness and gives it a charred, smoky flavor. This is then layered on a plate with a whipped goat cheese spread that comes together in minutes in a food processor, my favorite homemade chili powder that will blow your taste buds off, queso fresco, and honestly the best pico de gallo I’ve ever made.
Seriously, this book is worth the price for this recipe alone! The pico de gallo recipe will make more than you’ll need for the corn salad and that is quite excellent because it means you’ll be able to scoop it onto tortilla chips for a snack later in the day.
We ate this Mexican Street Corn salad so many ways, including in straight up salad form (as pictured), layered onto sourdough toasts, and poured over tortilla chips as nachos. I can assure you, there is no wrong way.
- kernels cut from 3 ears of corn (about 4 cups)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 recipe whipped goat cheese (recipe below)
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
- 1 tbsp homemade chili powder or 1.5 tsp each ground chili powder and smoked paprika
- 1 recipe pico de gallo (recipe below)
- 1 lb goat cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup heavy cream
- salt, to taste
- ½ small red onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- salt, to taste
- 3 roma tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 tbsp minced cilantro
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste with salt.
- On each serving bowl, place a large swoop of the whipped goat cheese. Top with the corn, queso fresco, homemade chili powder, and pico de gallo. Serve immediately.
- Combine the goat cheese and the heavy cream in the bowl of a food processor. Process until very smooth and airy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the red onion, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Let them rest together for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos. Add more salt to taste.