When it is in season, fresh sweet corn is amazing no matter how you serve it. I’ve had it in dozens of ways, from raw when it was picked just minutes before to cooked into a velvety creamed corn dish. My favorite way to enjoy corn, however, is grilled corn on the cob – and better still is Mexican Grilled Street Corn. This style of corn on the cob is grilled then spread with mayonnaise, lime, chili peppers and cheese and served while it is still hot.
The street corn is also known as esquite, and it is called street corn because it is a very popular street food in Mexico and here in LA, where you can buy it right off the cart of many street vendors when corn is in season (and I’m not just talking fancy food trucks!). The toppings have a wonderfully savory flavor that works really well with the sweet, grilled corn – and the mayonnaise adds not only a pleasantly creamy texture but really holds everything in place very well. I add a little bit of lime juice to my mayonnaise before spreading it onto the corn, although lime fans might want to squeeze a wedge of lime straight onto the corn itself. I sprinkle on chili powder to taste and finish it off with a sprinkle of cojita cheese (parmesan will do in a pinch if you don’t have cojita).
I like to grill my corn still in the husk, leaving a knob of corn stalk as a handle on the bottom of the ear. If you buy your corn already shucked or just prefer to remove all of the husk, you can wrap your corn in a layer of aluminum foil before grilling it. The cooking time is the same either way, so the only real difference is that you’ll need to put your foil-covered corn on a plate before dressing it up with condiments, while the corn still in the husk can be held in your hand while you deck it out.
Mexican Grilled Street Corn
4 large ears of corn
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice
dried, ground chipotle peppers or chili powder
1-2 tbsp cojita cheese (or parmesan) per ear
Preheat your grill to high.
Pull back the husk of the corn and pull out the silk. Remove any loose outer layers of husk and bring the rest back up around the ear of corn.
Place corn on a hot grill and cook, rotating every 2-4 minutes, until the husk is dark or mostly blackened and corn has a slight toast to it. Over high heat, this should take about 10-12 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lime juice.
Peel back the husk and spread each ear corn with lime mayonnaise while it is still hot, then sprinkle generously with chili powder and cheese.
Makes 4 (recipe can be scaled up to serve a crowd)