Elote is a variation of standard corn on the cob..corn on the cob that’s been kicked up a notch with the perfect amounts of crema sauce, salty cotija cheese, spices—such as chili powder, salt, other seasonings, fresh lime juice and cilantro.
Elote…also referred to as Mexican street corn or “crazy corn” is especially popular in Mexico where it is commonly sold on the city streets by people who walk around the cities or towns with carts selling…who are referred to as “eloteros,” …(go figure…perhaps that’s why they call it Mexican Street Corn).
The perfect elote is perfectly buttery, perfectly mouthwatering…perfectly grilled…perfectly seasoned with the perfect amount of spices such as chili powde…and perfectly topped with just the right amount of cheese…perhaps served with the perfect barbecue chicken or grilled steak.
8 ears of corn, husked…perfect elote requires perfect corn…for advice on choosing the perfect fresh corn, check out this previous post…Corn…The How…(but if fresh corn is not available, feel free to use frozen corn instead).
1/2C chopped cilantro…cilantro will give your elote a zippy, tangy, zesty pop.
1/2C crumbled cotija cheese…cotija cheese, also known as “Mexican Parmesan,” is a hard, white, crumbly cheese that is typically made from cow’s milk with a fresh and salty taste similar to feta. You can most likely find this in the specialty “gourmet” xheese section of a decent grocery store…but if you cannot find it, try feta, grated parmesan, queso fresco, oe Pecorino Romano instead.
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges or 4Tbsp lime Juice...lime gives the corn a fabulous fresh, tangy, zesty flavor….and as with almost everything else, fresh is always best…just remember to avoid using the white pith from the lime as it has a bitter instead of tangy flavor.
1/3C Mexican Crema…Mexican crema is similar to typical sour cream but with a slightly sour taste and a creamy texture…milder and thinner than sour cream…imagine a mixture of heavy cream and buttermilk…you can usually find this in the meat department with the other Hispanic items or the cheeses….if you can’t find it, or like me refuse to buy an ingredient that you might not use again for a while…you can substitute 3Tbsp sour cream blended with 5Tbsp mayonnaise
Spices...as far as spices, like almost anything else that you cook, it totally depends on what you like…(or perhaps what you can find in your spice cabinet without having to dig through stuff)…including chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, pepper, salt…but here’s what I personally use…
First shuck your corn if you are using fresh corn. For more on doing this, check out this previous post…
Then decide how you are going to actually cook your corn—boiling it, grilling it, or cooking it in the oven…(for more on this, check out this link…Corn…The How.
Grilling the corn will give the corn the great smoky char that you expect from elote…more flavor means greater elote, right?!
Before you start cooking your corn, you first need to season it by brushing your spices. This will not only add flavor, but will also keep your corn from drying out.
Cooking the Elote
To grill the corn…grease and heat your grill to high heat. Once your grill is hot, add your corn and close the lid. Cook five or six minutes per side, rotating the corn until all of the sides are lightly charred and closing the lid every time you check on it.
To cook the corn in the oven…Preheat oven to 400. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a baking rack on top of prepared baking sheet. Place corn brushed with oil directly on the baking rack. Bake 35 minutes, turning half way through.
To boil the corn…Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add corn. Cook about ten minutes or until tender. Carefully drain the corn and pat dry.
Serving the Elote’
Once you have finished cooking your corn,,,
1. Brush ear of corn with about 1½tsp mayonnaise…using a pastry brush so that you end up with a a thin layer instead of a goopy one.
2. Sprinkle each ear of corn with 1Tbsp cheese and a pinch of the spice mixture, Sprinkling the cheese onto the corn instead of rolling it in the cheese will keep the cheese from getting clumpy.
3. Finally squeeze 1 lime wedge over each ear of corn and serve.
As far as leftovers, place the elotes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and store in the fridge for up to five days.
To warm it back up in the microwave…place the corn on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for twenty second, then adcding ten seconds to the cooking time until warm.
To warm it back up in the oven…wrap each ear in foil and then bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about five minutes.