I am a big fan of attending a potluck, especially one that is held outdoors. Potlucks are a great opportunity not only for the general get together, but it a wonderful time to try a lot of new dishes. Now sure, you will often see some traditional dishes such as some sort of potato salad, or some of that infamous taco dip, but often times there are things that people bring that are a real eye catcher and have you questioning yourself like ‘why haven’t I thought of that before?’.
We have been attending an annual gathering for a handful of years now, and this year was no exception. The potluck was in order, and as I usually bring my Asia style pasta salad loaded with garlic and mint, I decided to do something different this year. Instead, I decided to make a Mexican style corn salad. If you have never tried Mexican corn or often times known as elote, it is a must. Your basically introduced by perfectly tender corn on the cob that is lathered with mayonnaise and cotija cheese, among other things. Sounds weird, I know, but trust me on this. It’s awesome.
So I decided to take that general idea, tweak it a bit, and make a potluck friendly salad. It was great, and let’s get started on the recipe.
- 6 whole ears of corn
- 1 lb bag of frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup of red onion, diced and soaked in water
- 1/2 cup of green bell pepper, diced
- 2 small pickling cucumbers, diced
- 1 cup of carrots, diced
- 3 limes, halved
- 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend, or 1 1/2 cup of cotija cheese
Begin by adding the whole ears of corn with husks on to a large pot of water. Bring that to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the corn soak until you are ready to grill it.
Make the dressing by adding the mayonnaise to a mixing bowl. Add in the salt, cumin, cayenne, and garlic powder and give that a good mix.
Empty the contents of the frozen corn into a small pot and bring that to a simmer for about 20 minutes and then set that aside.
Next, fire up your grill. Remove the husks and silk and set aside. Drain the frozen corn you were cooking and add that to a large mixing bowl. Drain the onions and add that to the bowl of corn. Add the green peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro as well.
Lay the whole ears of corn onto the grill over direct heat, as well as the limes. Cook the corn for a few minutes, rotating, and continue cooking until the corn caramelizes. Once you achieve that, remove them from the grill, along with the limes. You will notice that the limes are super juicy at this point in time.
Let the corn and limes cool for about 5 minutes. Take a knife and run it down the corn, removing all of the kernels. Add those corn kernels to the mixing bowl. Add in the cheese. Squeeze the limes into the bowl of mayonnaise mixture.
Add the dressing to the corn salad and mix well until everything is incorporated. Give it a nice taste and season with any additional salt.
You end up with a corn salad that is not only full of flavor but also full of color. It reminds you of Mexican corn not only due to the mayonnaise and some of the heat from the cayenne pepper, but then you get wonderful crunch from the carrots, cucumbers, and peppers.
This Mexican corn salad presents itself on its own. Watching the people around me, I could tell they were really enjoying it and the large bowl was nearly empty when the party was over. That’s always a good sign. I hope you enjoy.