Elote: Mexican grilled corn

Enhance the juiciness of fresh grilled corn with a butter and mayonnaise glaze that incorporates cotija cheese and fresh cilantro.

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In the summer, like most Midwestern states, Ohio is a sea of cornfields. True, early in the season we start off our obsession here at the Lau household with Zellwood corn from Florida, and as the line of blowing tassels spreads ever northward from the sunshine state, we look forward with ever growing eagerness for the first of the local corn.

For as anyone knows, corn is best when served as soon as possible after being cut from the stalk.

And I do wonder, when I browse the produce sections of grocery stores everywhere, why so many people do insist on shucking their corn right there, often dropping their garbage on the floor if the produce guy doesn’t offer a dumpster. And why does it bother me?

Little do they know that keeping the husks on the corn helps preserve the quality of the ears that much longer. So keeping them on until you get home is a good thing. Besides, you might just want to soak your corn in the husks before tossing them onto a grill grate, and I even have a recipe, Oven Roasted Corn with Chipotle Butter, based on one from Tyler Florence that involves tossing the corn, husks and all, into the oven until it is done. You might imagine that to be a mess, but it is so much easier than shucking the corn and picking at the stray silks. Oven-baked corn shucks very easily, with no problem from the silks at all.

Elote, grilled corn with cotija cheese, is very popular in Mexico as a street food the same way we often enjoy roasted corn at food festivals throughout the United States. It is quite easy to hold it by the stem with the husks folded back, although you can use corn holders if you like. I like tying the husks back with a string of the husk itself, but in the photos of this recipe I used corn holders since they were easier to get inside the picture frame.

It is quite tasty, and the mayo serves as a savory kind of glue to keep the cheese from falling everywhere. With a squeeze of lime it is almost pure elation.

Elote: Mexican Grilled Corn

 2 ears fresh shucked corn
1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
2 lime wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Grill corn in soaked husks (10-15 minutes), or cook indoors in water, steamer, or oven until tender.

2. Brush hot cooked corn with butter, then cover with a thin layer of mayo.

3. Roll corn in crumbled cotija cheese.

4. Garnish with cilantro and serve with a lime wedge. Can also season to taste with salt and pepper if you like.

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