This delicious corn dish is adapted from I’ll Bite, the blog of Kathleen Purvis of the Charlotte Observer. She got the recipe from Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides, by Lee Brian Schrager andAdeena Sussman, with foreword by Whoopi Goldberg. In turn, Schrager and Sussman’s recipe comes from The Original El Taco in Atlanta (motto: “The Best Tex-Mex Restaurant in Atlanta”). The corn accompanies El Taco’s fabulous Fried Chicken Taco and is also on the menu under “Sides.” The Original El Taco calls it Mexico City Grilled Corn. When Chris graduated from Emory, we made sure that The Original El Taco was one of our stops. The fresher your corn, the better your Corn Elote will be.
8 ears yellow corn, shucked
1/2 cup mayonnaise or Mexican crema
2 tablespoons lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Crystal hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Queso Cotija (Mexican dry white cheese) or Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat a grill or cast-iron skillet over high heat and cook the corn, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, 7 to 8 minutes total. (The original recipe says to cook the corn until it is very slightly charred, but the corn has more flavor when it is cooked longer). Or you can roast the ears under the broiler. Cool slightly, then cut the kernels off the cobs into a bowl. (You should have about 5 cups kernels; discard cobs.)
Whisk together the mayonnaise or crema, lime juice, lime zest, hot sauce, salt, sugar, garlic powder and pepper in a large serving bowl. Gently fold in the corn kernels, cheese and cilantro until just combined.