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Recipes

Street Corn Is Even Better Off the Cob

Moving this popular handheld delight to a bowl means you can spruce it up with all sorts of add-ins.
By Published July 13, 2022

There’s so much to love about elote, the street corn that is popular throughout Mexico and the United States. It’s an ear of grilled or charred corn that’s slathered with crema, sprinkled with crumbly cotija cheese, kicked up with spicy chili powder, and finished with a squeeze of lime. The idea is that you can walk around while chowing down on it.

But . . . what if you’ve got time to sit down and eat and want to move the whole thing to a bowl?

Then you’ve got the opportunity to take the original concept and enhance it with some extras. 

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Elote in a bowl is called esquites, and it’s just as enticing. To make it, you scrape the kernels off the cob and sauté them until spotty brown. (This also means there’s no need to fire up the grill.) Then you can stir in anything you like, such as cotija, lime juice, and crema.

My colleague, Senior Photo Test Cook Lawman Johnson, recently developed a version of street corn in a bowl that stays true to the original but incorporates spicy Mexican chorizo, fresh herbs, and pickled shallot.

For his recipe, he starts by browning the chorizo and adding some minced scallion whites and garlic to the rendered pork fat, creating a base of porky flavor for the whole dish. Then he adds corn kernels (five ears’ worth!) and fresh oregano (for a peppery hit) to the pan. He sautés the corn until it is nicely browned in spots, which mimics the char it gets on the grill and allows the corn time to pick up some of the chorizo’s porky flavor. 

For freshness and brightness, he stirs in scallion greens, cilantro, and lime juice. Some quick-pickled shallot, made by microwaving a little sugar and vinegar and letting some sliced shallot sit in the mix, adds sweet-sour notes.

To bring it all home, he crumbles some cotija on top and drizzles the whole dish with Mexican crema, a rich, pourable cultured cream.

Handheld street corn is delicious and has its place, but if you make Lawman’s Skillet Corn with Mexican Chorizo, you can grab a fork and sit and enjoy it from a bowl.