Mexican Street Corn

I am by no means a corn on the cob type of person.  I could live without it, and my husband is the same way too.  But I was intrigued by this snack food sold by street vendors in Mexico.  Little did I realize that after making this super easy recipe, we’d be fighting over the last cob.  I unfortunately only had three cobs at home, and never imagined us dueling it out over corn.  Come to think of it, we didn’t even offer any to the baby; afraid he’d like it too.  Oh well, it could have been a choking hazard, Mike would have said.  In the end, Mike took pity on me, and let me have the last ear.  Perhaps because he managed to burn the bbq chicken, while the inside remained undercooked.  I am currently taking donations to send him to bbq cooking bootcamp. 

But back to the lovely corn.  It was the perfect blend of sweet corn balanced with salty cotija cheese, spicy mayo, and sour lime.  What’s the secret to this recipe?  Get some locally grown, non-GMO corn like from The Backyard Farmer at North Scottsdale Farmers Market.  I also purchased a conventional grocery store corn cob just for comparison, and wow was there a difference.  The non-GMO corn was noticeably sweeter and crisper with more depth of flavor.  While the conventional corn cob was bigger and with larger kernels, it fell short on flavor.

I learned from Galen at The Backyard Farmer what a labor of love it is to grow non-GMO corn.  To ensure that the corn is not cross-contaminated with GMO plants (that may be growing on neighboring farms), they must first grow the corn from seed in an enclosed greenhouse, and then transplant it to the field.  Not a small feat for a busy family farm.  Where it is estimated that 88% of US corn crops are GMO, a big thanks to these committed farmers for their efforts in bringing us this now rare treat.

Definitely give this recipe a try, and make sure to have more than 3 ears at home 😉

Mexican Street Corn
adapted from Super Natural Cooking
4 corn cobs, husks pulled back, silk removed
olive oil
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
1 lime, quartered

Put grill on medium heat.  Pull back husks, and remove silk threads from corn.  Drizzle olive oil on the corn.  You can pull the husks back over the corn to protect it from charring.  Turn occasionally on the grill for approximately 10 minutes.  I actually pulled the corn husks back, and put the corn directly on the grill to get some caramelization (yes it’s a word in my book) going.   Mix mayo and cayenne pepper, pull back corn husks, and slather onto corn.  Roll in cotija cheese.  If you can’t find cotija cheese (also called queso fresco), you can substitute it with feta or even parmesan. Squeeze lime over corn, and serve immediately.  Serves 4 (or in our house 2).

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