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« Dressing for my iPad | Main | One-Bite Lemon Cheesecakes »

Esquites - Mexican Corn Street Salad

You all know by now my love affair with corn. So you can imagine that when summer arrives around these parts and the BBQ season starts, I’m giddy with excitement of all the corn that is going to show up.

If there is one country that knows how to eat corn is Mexico.  Anywhere you go you will find carts in every street corn selling something made with corn and where there is corn there is this dish called Esquites.  It’s a snack and the word comes from the Nahuatl word izquitl, which translates to “toasted corn”.

If you search this recipe there will be tons of variations out there, but the basics is toasted corn in butter and onions, then topped with varying combinations of lime juice, chile powder or hot sauce, salt and mayonnaise.

I know, you are all shaking your head and saying corn and mayo?!?!

I promise you, this is a combinations that sound weird, but when you taste them together they totally work.

Since it has been raining non-stop around these parts, there was no way I was going to be able to cook the corn on the cob on the grill, so I opted in getting frozen sweet corn and using my cast iron skillet to “roast” the corn until the kernels char and caramelized which intensifies their sweetness making them even more irresistible.

When done right, a few kernels should jump and pop just like popcorn. I’ve had kernels leap clear across the kitchen on occasion. A careful eye and a splatter guard will protect you from any corn kernel fire.

Once the corn is charred, toss it hot with the remaining ingredients. It can be served straight away, or is just as good at room temperature, making this an ideal picnic dish.

Tip: if you can find Mexican cream, use that instead of the mayo and sour cream


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob or 2 bags of frozen corn
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of red onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 2 tablespoons cotija cheese (or feta), crumbled
  • chili powder to taste (if you can find Chile piquin, even better). 

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet (if you have cast iron, use it) over high heat.

Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until charred, mix it up and let it char again, about 6-10 minutes.

Add the jalapeno, and onion sauté for a minute and remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the toasted corn mixture with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings, adding more of your preferred flavors

Serve it hot, warm or even cold – it’s good any which way, which makes it a perfect side dish for any summer party you need to take a dish to.

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