Fresh, sweet corn is showing up in the market and this Mexican Street Corn Salad is a delicious way to serve it. The corn is toasted in a hot skillet, giving it a rich, nutty flavor. The sugar in the corn will caramelize and make the kernels all toasty brown and delicious.
The trick to toasting and caramelizing the corn kernels is to let them sit in the hot pan without stirring them too often. You will need to stir them after the bottom layer is good and brown, but it will take a couple of minutes so you have time to prepare your other ingredients. Pretty soon the sugars on the bottom of the pan will start to smell a little burned and the corn kernels will start to pop and crackle, they might even jump out of the pan so be cautious.
Once the corn is cooled it is mixed with bell pepper, Cotija cheese, cilantro and green onions then tossed with a creamy chili lime dressing. The sweet, spicy, savory blend of ingredients is harmony to your taste buds.
The messiest part about this recipe is getting the corn kernels off of the cobs but The Kitchen has a great tip for this by using a bundt pan. It keeps the kernels from scattering all over the counter and floor, genius!
Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)
This salad version of Mexican street corn is a sweet, spicy and tangy corn salad mixed with a creamy dressing.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ears of fresh corn
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)
- 3 green onions (scallions), finely sliced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
Creamy Chili Lime Dressing
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- zest and juice from 1 lime
- Iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce leaves to serve as lettuce bowls
- Remove the husks and silk from the corn and slice the kernels off the cob.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn kernels to the skillet and let them sit until the kernels on the bottom are browned. Continue to cook, stirring every 2 minutes for about 6-8 minutes until the kernels are browned and begin to make popping noises. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium sized bowl, add the chopped bell pepper, Cojita cheese, green onions, cilantro leaves and the cooled corn kernels.
Creamy Chili Lime Dressing
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dressing until smooth.
- Blend the dressing into the salad then season with salt and pepper if necessary.
*Cotija is a salty cheese so it is best to finish the salad then taste it before adding salt. I added less than ¼ teaspoon.
Serving Size 6
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 4.7 g
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 261 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.9 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 5.8 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.