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Esquites (Mexican street corn salad) recipe

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

My samples for esquites flew off the table this Saturday at the Holly Springs, NC farmer's market. And for good reason: the recipe came out great!

If you're not familiar, Mexican street corn (also known as elote) is a drool-worthy summer staple consisting of a grilled whole ear of corn slathered with mayonnaise and sprinkled with cheese, lime, cilantro, garlic, and chile. You'll often find people eating them while walking tent to tent at street fairs.

I knew I wanted to make a version of these for my July farmer's market cooking demo, which was to showcase corn being in season. To make it easier to put into sample cups, my idea was to cut the corn kernels off the cob. Little did I know that this was actually already a thing! With a bit of quick research, I found that when you cut the kernels of elote and make a kind of salad, the dish is called equites. Elote - corn cob = esquites. Mind blown.

I used fresh ears of corn, micro cilantro, green onions, and feta cheese from local vendors to make the recipe on Saturday. I made just the basic version of my recipe, with none of the optional ingredients (you'll see in a sec). I was told it was my best recipe yet! Here it is:

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

by McKenzie Ziegler, RDN, CDN, LDN

serves 4

4 ears fresh corn, husks removed

2 Tbsp butter

Salt, to taste

½ cup scallions, finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 oz feta or Cotija cheese, finely crumbled

Chili powder, to taste

Optional ingredients:

1 avocado, chopped

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

½ cup tomatoes, diced

Using a knife, cut kernels off ears of corn. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add corn and season with salt. Cook until charred on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients, including any of the optional ingredients if desired. Serve immediately.

This would be the perfect side dish for your next summer gathering. Let me know in the comments if you make it and how it came out!

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