The Mexican way to wildly dress simply cooked corn drives me wild:
Crunchy sweet corn on a stick, brushed with butter and mayo, coated in tangy and salty crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, typically chile piquín, coarse salt and a liberal squeeze of lime juice…
It doesn’t matter if I am hungry. The mere site of a street food corn stand makes me stop dead in my tracks and zoom over for one. Like a wild woman. I need one. Well, the truth is one is not enough, ever.
In Mexico you find corn stands all over, in little towns and big cities. Locals know what day of the week and at what times they show up. If you are not from there, it takes a while to figure it out.
And does that man know how to dress that corn! He spoiled me and added an extra squeeze of lime juice.
Corn can be simmered in water, many times with fresh Epazote. Or it can be grilled on a griddle or comal. If the kernels are shaved off, then the dish is called Esquites. But the traditional trimmings are the same for all.
Yet, some people can get even wilder… You won’t believe this, when Mauro was dressing our corn, a pregnant lady asked for her Esquites with all the trimmings to be poured inside a bag of Doritos. Yes she did. But if you ask me, about to have a baby, she was entitled to whatever kind of craving she felt like…
Last week, thinking of the many things to do with summer corn for an appearance on the Today Show, I included Crazy Corn. But I opted for the grilled take, because as the corn chars, its natural sugar comes out and caramelizes, giving it an extra layer of rustic and sweet flavor.
They had all the trimmings with alternatives and options. Different kinds of dried ground chiles: Ancho, Chipotle and a smoky mix. They also had the queso fresco and its seamless substitutes: Queso Cotija and its Mediterranean cousin, the Mild Feta.
- 6 ears of fresh corn husked and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- unsalted butter
- 1 cup crumbled cotija or queso fresco farmers cheese or a mild Feta
- 3 limes halved to squeeze on top
- Salt to taste
- Dried ground chile piquin or a Mexican mix or to taste
- Brush the ears of corn with a bit of oil. Place over a grill or grill pan, set over medium heat, and let the corn cook and char slightly, turning them every 3 minutes or until the corn is down, anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Alternatively, you can simmer the corn in water until tender.
- Let everyone decide what they want on their crazy corn. You can stick the corn on corn holders or a wooden stick.
- The traditional way is to spread butter and a layer of mayonnaise. Then the corn is thoroughly "breaded" with the crumbled cheese, sprinkled with salt and ground chile and finally, drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.