by Phyl Baxter
Mexican Cooking: A traveler could spend an entire vacation eating their way around Mexico. Mexican cuisine is regionally flavourful and absolutely delicious. Equites is a Mexican street food with charred corn, cotija cheese, spices and mayo. This is an easy-to-eat version of Elotes, on-the-cob skewered corn.
When considering Mexican street food, one might want to tuck in to some tasty tamales, or chow down cinnamon-sugared churros. Stuffed tortilla tacos topped with guac and salsa are different in every region of Mexico, while Oaxaca quesadillas are the cheese-lovers chosen chow.
What you might not think about, when considering Mexican street food, is mayonnaise.
Even more questionable, is putting mayo on corn. I've been around a bit and I can handle mayo and fries, mayo, and tuna on a baked potato, mayo on sushi. But on corn? I'm a corn purest; growing up on summer meals of fresh corn on the cob, boiled, smothered with butter, sprinkled with salt, and served with sliced tomato on the side.
But, when in Mexico... Elotes are skewered ears of corn, grilled to a beautiful char and smothered with a creamy mayonnaise sauce, lime and chilli powder. Every picnic and summer fair in Texas has an elotes booth. But the fear of schmears of mayo all over my face from eating on-the-cob corn in public has always been a factor in my enjoyment of the snack.
When I was last in Cancun, my main meal came with a side of ESQUITES. I didn't know what an esquitas was, but, it was a side and I could love it or leave it. To my surprise, my esquitas is a deconstructed (off-the-cob) elotes! I admit to being frightened by the creamy mayo, but the corn was crisp and juicy, charred to a caramelised sweetness. The Cotija cheese was reminiscent of drippy, stringy mozzarella, and the limes and chilli gave it a great punch.
Esquites is very easy to make and even easier to eat. Give this recipe a go and have a Cancun summer no matter the time of year!
2 tablespoons vegetable oil *
4 ears of fresh corn or one 14 ounce bag of frozen corn
salt to taste
2+ounces Cotija cheese (substitutes are goat's cheese or feta)
1 bunch chopped scallions, green only
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
juice of one large lime or 1 tablespoon of bottled lime juice
chilli powder or red pepper flakes to taste. 💥
Cut the corn away from the cob.
Using a non stick skillet, heat the oil. Add the corn, season with salt to taste and continue cooking until the corn is charred. Flip it over to char on both sides and be careful, those buggers will start jumping around. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Be careful with the pepper flakes. Most recipes agree to serving this immediately but I refrigerated and it was fine. buen provecho!