Excerpted from Ayesha’s latest cookbook, The Full Plate. Get all of the recipes by purchasing a copy here! Photography by Eva Kolenko.
This salad is inspired by elote, the Mexican street food snack of corn-on-the-cob slathered in mayonnaise, rolled in cheese, and doused in hot sauce. I like to grill the corn for my salad, which gives it a slight char and a little more texture, but you can also make the salad with boiled corn; the smoked paprika still gives the salad some nice smoky flavor. If you can’t find cortija cheese, substitute crumbled queso fresco or feta.
Lovers of traditional elote: Please note that this is definitely inspired by the original. That’s one of the reasons I love cooking: You can be as interpretive as you like at any given moment.
Mexican-Style Grilled Corn Salad
6 ears corn, shucked
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, cut into wedges
Hot sauce, such as Tapatío, to taste (optional)
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill for direct, medium-high heat grilling. (Alternately, set a grill pan over medium-high heat.)
- Rub the corn with the oil. When the grill is hot, add the corn and grill on all sides until charred and slightly cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Cut the corn kernels from the cob into a large bowl. Add the cotija, onion, cilantro and jalapeño, and stir to mix. In a small bow, whisk together the mayonnaise, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the corn and mix to coat. The salad can be served right away, but will keep refrigerated for up to a day. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce.