Esquites - Mexican Street Corn Salad

I have always
been a fan of recipes from south of the border. Well as I live in Canada, I guess its south of two borders.  I adore Mexican street corn. Then a month ago I stumbled across recipes that took the same flavors to made Esquites (a roasted corn salad).  I have made it several times now as a side with a Mexican meal and find it a great addition.

There were many variations I found in a web search, so just wrote down a few and then mixed and matched the amounts, ingredients and seasonings. Don't be afraid to adjust things for your own taste. At this point, I simply use frozen Peaches and Cream corn, but if you have fresh sweet corn available, just cut the kernels off the cob and away you go. 

The photo doesn't show the numerous brown flecks on the corn, but they are there. Medium heat and a non stick frying pan are perfect for this. You can flip the kernels yourself, but I like to shake the pan to flip the corn every few minutes. Makes me feel like a pro. And honestly this technique is easier. You push the pan away, then quickly jerk back towards you and lift slightly. All the contents hit the side and flip back. Try not to stop roasting too early. You want to see those brown roasted flecks, but stop before you burn the kernels. 

How to flip food in a skillet - by Serious Eats

I dump the hot roasted corn straight into a bowl with the other ingredients already well combined, stir gently and then let salad set. I like it best slightly warm, or even room temperature. This also gives times for the flavors to combine. I included a bonus recipe I have not tried yet at the bottom. Less traditional, especially in terms of the cheeses, but more of a vegetarian full meal deal salad. If you try it first, let me know what you think. When I do, I'll be sure and update this post with an image and my feedback. 


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Esquites - Mexican Street Corn Salad
Serves 3-4 depending on serving size

Ingredients - 

2 T                Butter
3 C                Frozen or fresh sweet corn (I used Peaches and Cream)
2                    Garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 C             Scallions, chopped
1/2 C             Cilantro, chopped
1/2 - 1            Jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (more if you want spicier)
2 T                 Mayo
1 T                 Lime Juice (or more to taste)
1/2 - 1 tsp      Chili Powder (to taste)
2 oz.              Feta or Cotija cheese, finely crumbled
Salt to taste

Instructions - 

Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the corn and sautee flipping often until roasted with lots of brown flecks.  

While corn is cooking add the garlic, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno, may, lime juice and cheese to a bowl. Stir well to mix and let set to combine flavours. 

When the corn is roasted with lots of brown flecks, add it right into the bowl and gently fold in until evenly combined. I let this set for a 5-10 minutes so the flavours can develop, and because I like to serve it just a little warm or at room temperature. 

If you like you can sprinkle a little extra crumbled cheese on top before serving. 

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Bonus recipe-

I have not tried this recipe from Rena of Healthy Fitness Meals - but it's more of a full meal deal with black beans and sweet peppers. It's on my list for when I want more than a side dish. It is definitely less traditional, especially with the cheeses used. 

Creamy Mexican Street Corn Salad


2 T                 Olive Oil
4-5                 Garlic Cloves pressed
3 1/2  C          Corn Fresh, canned or frozen
1 C                 Black Beans drained and rinsed
1                    Large Red Bell Pepper diced
1                    Medium Sweet Onion finely diced
2-3                Jalapeños diced, seeds, and veins removed for a mild taste
1/4 C             Pickled Jalapeño
5 oz               Cream Cheese can use light or fat-free
1 tsp              Smoked Paprika
1 C                Grated Cheddar Cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 TB              Fresh Chopped Cilantro to garnish

Instructions -

Add olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, then stir in corn, black beans, bell pepper, fresh and pickled jalapeños. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper to taste, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until fully incorporated, then stir in Cheddar cheese. Continue to stir until all cheese is melted.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve while hot. Enjoy!