This creamy and delicious Mexican Grilled Corn Salad is quick and easy to make. Great to use some of those juicy summer corn and perfect for the grilling season.
My theme for this week’s blogging marathon is ‘Pick 1 alphabet and cook dishes from 3 countries’. Valli gave us this list and I picked the letter M.
I love Mexican food and so first up is this Mexican dish that is creamy, smokey and absolutely delicious. This simple grilled corn salad known as Esquites in Mexico.
Difference between Esquites & Elotes
Grilled corn is one of the popular snacks in Mexico and there are two ways they are served.
- Esquites – is made with grilled corn kernels and is served as a salad
- Elote – is corn on the cob that has been grilled and is served just as is
Check this post from lifepart2 for the differenced between the two.
A creamy, cheesy sauce is slathered on the corn in both the dishes. I prefer this corn salad version because it is less messy to eat.
The main ingredient is Corn, of course. Fresh summer corn is the best to use in this dish. But if it is not corn season, then this dish tastes great even when made with frozen corn.
Frozen grilled corn is another great alternative for fresh corn in this recipe. I love Trader Joe’s brand or you can make your own using regular frozen corn (instructions included).
Traditionally, the creamy sauce is made with Mexican Crema, which is difficult to find in regular grocery stores. So, this recipe uses easily available ingredients instead.
It uses a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream and lemon juice produces similar creamy tang and coats the corn even better.
Chili powder, garlic and jalapeno chili give this salad a nice heat and bite. I also added some finely chopped mixed peppers to give the dish some color and make it more substantial.
The first step to make this dish is to grill corn. It tastes smoky and absolutely delicious. There are a few ways to grill corn:
- grill the corn on the cobs – like I did in the photos above.
- use fresh or frozen corn kernels and char them in a skillet.
- use frozen grilled corn – easiest method.
Brush the corn on the cob lightly with oil and then grill it on an outdoor or stove-top grill until evenly grilled on all sides.
If using corn kernels, toast them in hot oil until nice and toasted all over.
The second step is to make the dressing: mix mayonnaise, sour cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and that’s it, dressing is ready to go.
Garlic, chili powder add nice flavor to the dish. But I don’t like raw garlic flavor. So, I dry roasted chili powder with finely minced garlic to take the bite off of them.
The final step is to combine all the ingredients together and sprinkle with cheese, either queso fresco or cotija will work beautifully in this recipe. Not traditional, but Pecorino Romano can be substituted for the cheese.
Mexican Grilled Corn Salad Recipe
For the Dressing:
- 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Sour Cream
- 1~2 tbsp Lemon juice
- To taste Salt Pepper
- 4 Corn on the Cob (or use 3-4 cups of frozen cut corn)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 tsp Chili powder (adjust as per taste)
- 3 Scallions, finely chopped
- 1 Small Red Onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Mixed color peppers, finely chopped
- 1 Jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds removed, to make it less spicy)
- 2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp Queso fresco or cotija or Pecorino Romano cheese, crumbled or grated
Make the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
- If using corn on the cob, lightly grease the cobs with oil and grill them on an outdoor or stove-top grill until corn is charred evenly all over.
- Once slightly cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and add them to a bowl.
- In a small skillet on medium-low heat, dry roast garlic and chili powder until fragrant, about 1~2 minutes. Add to the grilled corn.
- If using fresh or frozen corn kernels, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the fresh or frozen corn kernels. Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until corn starts on char. Add the garlic clove and chili powder and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove the charred corn into a bowl and cool slightly.
Assemble the Salad:
- Add chopped scallions, onion, peppers, jalapeno and cilantro to the grilled corn. Toss well to combine.
- Add the sauce and mix well to evenly coat the ingredients. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Adjust the seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature.
- If using frozen grilled corn, then simply thaw according to package instructions. Add all the other ingredients including the dressing, toss and enjoy!!
- This salad can be served warm, or at room temperature or chilled.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Serve it as a salad, or as a dip for tortilla chips.
- It makes a great quesadilla or burrito filling.
- It is also perfect to serve as a topping for Mexican rice bowl.
Mexican Street corn aka Esquites is usually served hot. But it is great to serve warm, or at room temperature or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
I absolutely love this cheesy, delicious Mexican grilled corn salad. It is easy to make, looks colorful and inviting. Serve this salad with any Mexican meal and you are sure to have people come back for seconds and the recipe.