Alicia's Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

[Enjoy a guest post from local food blogger and New Pi member Alicia of Culinary Bliss, and enjoy local goodness! -- Allison]

Alicia's Mexican Corn Salad on New Pi Eats

If you choose to make it a priority to eat locally and seasonally, you've probably faced skepticism about how fulfilling life can be when lived without so many of the foods our culture takes for granted. How do you stomach a December sandwich without a slice of fresh tomato?

Things become easier when we make an effort to focus on the foods we can enjoy, rather than those we can't. This is easy right now, in the time of great abundance. The purpose of Eat Local Week is to celebrate and enjoy all the bounty of the summer harvest.

There is nothing so Iowan as sweet corn. Consider this recipe, adding a Mexican twist to this homegrown favorite: it balances the corn's sweetness with chili powder, lime juice, and salty cheese.

cutting corn off the cobcutting limes

Whole milk Greek-style yogurt is a good substitute for mayonnaise. You can find cotija, the dry, salty, Mexican cheese, at any local Mexican grocery store (Editor’s note: For a slightly different flavor, substitute powdered Parmesan, crumbled feta, or nutritional yeast, all available at the Co-op).

For nice, cleanly cut lime slices, I find the easiest way is to slice them in half and then in quarters, with your knife at an angle and the lime face down.) If you want to keep things simple, just use these ingredients as toppings for steamed or grilled corn on the cob.

Alicia's Mexican Sweet Corn on New Pi Eats

Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

makes approximately 3 cups of salad - recipe doubles or triples easily

4 ears of sweet corn
2 T. mayonnaise (I prefer Vegenaise); or substitute whole milk Greek-style yogurt
2 T. melted butter
¼ c. cotija cheese (or powdered Parmesan, crumbled feta, or nutritional yeast), plus more for finishing
½ t. salt
cilantro (optional)
chili powder to taste
1-2 limes

Steam the ears of corn in a large stockpot with just a couple inches of water at the bottom. You will know they're done when the kernels turn translucent instead of cloudy.

While the ears are steaming, mix the mayonnaise, melted butter, cheese, and salt in the bottom of your serving bowl. Add fresh cilantro, if desired.

Once the corn has finished cooking, cut the kernels off. I find it easiest to use a serrated knife and a pie pan so you have a flat surface with raised sides. Be sure to use the back of your knife to scrape the ear after cutting off the kernels to get the remaining liquid. (This is known as “milking” the cob.)

Pour the warm kernels into the mayo mixture and fold gently to coat them.

Sprinkle chili powder and extra cheese on top of the salad. Serve warm or at room temperature with slices of lime.


Want to hear more from Alicia? Read more on Culinary Bliss.

I bet you're making great local meals too. Share them with us!


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