Ah….the robust heat of August… similar to that of a steam oven. There’s lots of things I think about when I think about the best dinners from throughout the summer growing up, and it always goes back to corn. Corn was everywhere – and it was the best indicator, as a kid, of how much summer vacation you had left.
We would eat corn just about every day – it was easy to make, and shucking the corn got my sister and I out of the house and out of my mother’s hair. If you found the right farm, at the right time of the summer, you could get these giant corn cobs with the sweetest, most delicious taste…. Ever. Then again, I can only guess what it actually tasted like. Anything tastes good when you’ve got your own personal stick of butter to slather over it all.
These days, I still enjoy corn just as much…. But after a tragic dental mishap with a razor scooter, no helmet and no brakes, remedied by enough porcelain to stock a China cabinet, I’m no longer able to eat corn still on the cob. That doesn’t stop me from finding creative ways to eat it! The ever-popular Mexican Street Corn is an amazing method of taking a perfectly healthy corn cob, and completely negating all of it’s nutritional value by smothering it in any delicious cheesy zesty by-product that will stick to it. It’s genius, it’s portable, and I LOVE everything about it. I will never dislike something involving cheese. (I was thinking I’d be willing to test that theory at some point, but I did just remember that truly stinky cheese is a real thing, and my gag reflex isn’t really onboard with stinky things. Standby on this.)
And so – in the spirit of pushing the envelope and making something else delicious from something already absolutely fabulous, this side salad was born. I’ll warn you now – you should buy a lot more corn than you think you need… because you will want mass quantities of this after you taste it. Also – corn cobs do not yield as much shaved corn as you think they do, so if you plan on bringing this anywhere, you’ll definitely want to double or triple the recipe. This calls for a few things from your garden, so make sure you use the absolute freshest of what you can!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min (40 min if making Cotija)
- 6 ears of corn, grilled or boiled
- 1/3 cup Vegenaise (Vegan!) or Coconaise (not Vegan!), more if preferred
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced (about 1 heaping tbsp)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne, more to taste
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 jalapeño, sliced, stems and seeds removed
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus for garnish
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup cotija cheese (if not making Vegan version), more for garnish
Vegan Cotija (optional)
- 1 1/2 Cup Cooked White Beans (Rinsed & Drained)
- 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Cotija, if making:
- Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, pulse all ingredients into a fine paste, making sure to scrape the sides to mix thoroughly.
- Spread over a parchment lined cook sheet, about ½ inch thick.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until dry/crisp. Allow to cool, and finely crumble.
For the Salad:
- Preheat grill to 400 degrees F if using grill for corn. You can also use an oven! If boiling, place corn in a large pot with enough water to cover all of the cobs.
- For the grill or oven, with husks on, place on the top rack for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes (oven you can just let them be). If cooking on stove, place de-husked corn into the pot and let boil in water for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool until corn is able to be handled, husks can be removed and kernels can be shaved off.
- Thoroughly remove corn from cobs and place into a bowl. You can (carefully!) use a knife, but I love this little tool from Pampered Chef. Add shallot, jalapeño and garlic… mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, lime juice, cumin, salt, paprika, chili powder and cayenne together. Adjust spices to taste. If you find that it’s too spicy, you can add more mayo, a half tsp at a time.
- Stir sauce into corn mixture, coating evenly.
- Garnish with cotija and cilantro!
* note – there was originally tomato in my recipe, but I found it was better without. Tomatoes are pictured!