There is a very sweet woman who sells tamales out of a cooler close to my apartment. She has a food cart, despite the crazy Chicago food cart rules (the food cannot be cooked in the cart), and the tamales are huge. I often pick up a few for dinner on my way home from work. Last time I was there, someone else ordered elote – an offering I didn’t know she served. It looked delicious, so when I saw sweet corn at the farmer’s market this past Sunday, I knew I would be making this Mexican specialty.
I have never made elote before, and I didn’t even bother to look up a recipe. I just decided to “wing it” based on what I saw my tamale lady throwing together. I’m not sure how traditional this is, but Eric certainly gobbled it right up. And it’s so simple and easy. I did not have any parsley or cilantro on hand, but I imagine this would be even better with some fresh herbs mixed in. Instead, I topped it with some cilantro pesto I made recently – that satisfied my need for fresh herbiness (yes, herbiness). I also decided to cut the corn off the cob since I don’t particularly enjoy eating corn on the cob, but you can certainly prepare this on the cob as well.
Elotes, aka Mexican Sweet Corn
inspired by the tamale lady, who I’ve since learned calls her stand Elotes. Genius.
3 cobs fresh sweet corn
1/4 cup cotija cheese, or other fresh Mexican cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (if I had it, I would have preferred to use a Mexican crema, sour cream, crème fraiche, or even greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon butter
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
Boil corn in a pot of salted water for a few minutes, until tender. Using a sharp chef’s knife, scrape the corn kernels from the cob. In a mixing bowl, combine with the rest of ingredients. For variation, try adding parsley, cilantro, or another fresh herb.