Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mexican Street Corn How To

Growing up in the midwest, corn was a year round staple food, mostly from a can.  Remember, I go way back.  Back in the day, corn on the cob was a picnic/cookout/summer time treat.  You always looked forward to those first fresh succulent ears of summer sweet corn.  Corn on the cob was not available year round like it is now.  You had to wait for summer. 

 How did we make corn on the cob?  Why we boiled it of course.  You filled a pan with water, shucked the corn, removed the silks, and then boiled it until tender.  Then you slathered it with butter and salt and ate it.  That was it.  Or, we scraped it off the cob and made creamed or fried corn.  That was pretty much the extent of corn recipe availability - at least at our house.  

Thanks to the plethora of cookbooks these days, the Food Network and the internet, there are more options for ways to prepare corn.   I found one website that listed 15 ways to make corn on the cob.  Would have been great to have that option when we were growing up.  But, the way I like it most is fixed like Mexican Street Corn that is sold by vendors on the streets of Mexico and now in many American cities.  It's roasted or grilled, not boiled, and fixed in a most wonderful and tasty way.

Our three oldest children were all musical theater majors and attended Webster University Conservatory in St. Louis.  There were a lot of theater students who came from extreme southern Texas in an area in and around a city named Pharr.  They had a fantastic arts program that produced a lot of students interested in acting and performance.  According to Wikipedia:

Pharr is connected by bridge to the Mexican city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas. It is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.

That lets you know how far south Pharr is. 

One of our oldest daughter's good friends was from there and he taught her how to make Mexican Street Corn the way they made it at home.  It became my favorite way to eat corn on the cob.  There are many different  recipes available on the web, but this is the way Michael taught her and it's the way I really love.  I will tell you some other options, but this is the way I fixed it for dinner Easter Sunday.  

First, I was able to get some amazing corn at the farmer's market from Florida.  The variety is Peaches and Cream which is a bi-color corn and it is wonderful.  My favorite summertime variety is Silver Queen - sweet white corn that is just the best I have ever eaten.  Silver Queen makes fantastic fried corn!

Anyway, back to Mexican Street Corn.  My understanding is that it is sold by vendors on the streets like we would have had ice cream vendors in the midwest, or hot dog vendors in New York.  Michael said they would eat this corn as an after school snack and it is sooooooooo good.  Wish we had had street corn vendors when we were growing up.  Here is how you make it.


Whole ears of corn
Sour cream, Mexican crema or mayonnaise (I use sour cream)
Fresh Cilantro,  ground cayenne, red chili powder or cumin
Grated Parmesan or cotija cheese
Lime wedges
Olive oil

Fire up your grill.  Shuck the corn and remove the silks.  Brush the corn with a little olive oil so it won't stick to the grill and cook until slightly charred on all sides.  Takes about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from grill.  It should look like this.
Roll in sour cream, crema or mayonnaise.  I used sour cream because it is readily available and it is what he taught her to use and what I like.  

Chop the cilantro really fine, sprinkle all over the corn and serve with a lime wedge.  Squeeze the lime juice over the ear of corn and eat.  

If you don't like cilantro (it's a love it or hate it kind of herb - I LOVE it), sprinkle with cayenne, cumin or chili powder, whichever you would prefer.  But don't forget the lime, it is the special touch that "makes" the corn.  You can also sprinkle on grated parmesan or cotija cheese.

Yes, I like butter on my corn (no salt), but this is the way I prefer to eat corn on the cob and have since the 90's.  Thanks Michael for showing Holly how to make this fantastic corn.  It's quick, easy and delicious!  That's a combination of three great words and gives you one great result.  Give this recipe a try, it's muy muy bueno!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

To make corn on the cob, boiling it is no longer the only option.  Try some new ways to fix and enjoy it!