Vendors in small carts with colorful umbrellas stroll the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico, selling elote, spiced corn on the cob, as a snack for passers-by. I was hooked – not realizing how easy it is to make at home.
Before we get into making elote, a general word for cooking corn on the cob. Many people overcook corn — that is, overcook it — which makes it chewy and tastes less sweet. It only takes about 3 minutes in boiling water or steam. If the corn looks brighter in color, it has cooked all it needs.
You can make elote with warm or room temperature corn. Simply spread with a mixture of sour cream and/or mayonnaise and then roll in the spice mixture. You can prepare elote several hours in advance: it will be served at room temperature.
You can make the creamy first layer (which helps the spice stick better) with canola or low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat sour cream if you prefer. Be sure to add lime zest or juice to give it that signature flavor. The spice layer is a combination of parmesan (our substitute for Mexican cotija cheese), chili powder, and ground chipotle powder.
4-6 ears of peeled corn
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (regular, canola, or reduced-fat)
2 tablespoons sour cream (regular or reduced fat)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1. Bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Add the corn and cook until lightly colored, three minutes. Place in a colander to drain.
2. Meanwhile, mix the parmesan, chilli powder, chipotle powder and salt in a plate.
3. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest and juice in a bowl.
4. One at a time, brush the mayonnaise mixture over the entire surface of the corn and roll in the spice mixture. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining corn.
FOR 4 TO 6 SERVINGS