Food flavor profiles and the combination of ingredients can sometimes surprise you. Something as simple as chocolate dipped potato chips may sound wildly outrageous to a few of you, but in reality, it is delicious. (Who doesn't like that sweet and salty combination?) Elote is no exception. The two main ingredients here are corn and good ol' mayonnaise. I know some of you reading this are cringing at the mere thought of it.
I've never understood why so many people out there absolutely detest mayonnaise. I'm not ashamed to admit that I love it. Cream cheese, sour cream, alfredo sauce- if it's white and creamy, chances are I'm a fan, and yes, go ahead and insert your inappropriate joke here.
So while others may be hesitant to give elote- also called Mexican street corn- a try, the idea of corn rubbed in a mixture of mayonnaise, lime juice and smoky spices was something I was immediately drawn to. I was first introduced to this dish back in September at The Mission, a mexican restaurant located here in Scottsdale, and was instantaneously hooked. The idea of it was so simple, but it was unlike anything I had ever had.
Cut to February, the weekend before Valentine's day when Jon and I traveled to Sedona to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, and I had my second encounter with this creamy corn that, honestly, I had been thinking about for months now at this point. I had been trying to sell elote to Jon ever since my first bite at The Mission, and wouldn't you know that Sedona had a restaurant that went by that very name.
Elote (the restaurant that is) doesn't take reservations, and they are only open for dinner. As per the recommendations listed on Yelp, Jon and I arrived around 4:45 pm and joined the line of about 100 other individuals who had gotten there before us to eagerly await Elote's nightly opening of its doors at 5 pm sharp.
Of course, elote was obviously featured on the menu, their interpretation served off the cob in a bowl mixed with the mayo mixture, but Jon and I also savored their shredded beef empanada, the Colorado lamb shank braised in a spicy adobo sauce and the smoked duck breast with pasilla chiles. Needless to say, the meal was spectacular. It's upscale, yet traditional Mexican cuisine layered with complex flavors of spice and smoke. And while the lamb was nothing short of perfection, wouldn't you know what Jon's favorite part of the meal was- the elote.
Recipe Inspired by Elote Café
4 ears of sweet corn, husks on
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I prefer to use reduced fat Hellman's)
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tbsp paprika
kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (a mexican cheese available at most supermarkets)
1/2 tbsp ancho chile powder (regular chile powder can be substituted)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1. Soak the corn in cold water for about 30 minutes. Peel back the husks, making sure to leave them intact, and pull off the silk from the corn. Pull the husks back up around the corn.
2. Heat a grill to medium high heat. Place the corn on the grill and cook for about 20-25 minutes, making sure to rotate a few times throughout grilling to ensure the corn is cooked evenly. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly.
3. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, pull off the husks and slather each ear with 1/2 tbsp butter. Mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, cayenne, 1/2 tsp paprika and a little salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the ancho chile powder and 1/2 tbsp paprika together in a different small bowl, set aside.
4. Brush each ear with the mayonnaise mixture, coat with cotija cheese and top with cilantro and a sprinkling of the chile powder mixture. Serve with a lime wedge and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings