Mexican Corn Salad

By TheRunawaySpoon
July 9, 2012

Author Notes: Mexican-style grilled corn, or elote, is another one of those food ideas that I read about for years before ever actually trying it. When I finally did take the plunge, slathering a freshly cooked cob of corn in mayonnaise and rolling it in salty cheese, I was hooked. This is now my favorite way to eat corn on the cob.

When planning a large gathering once, it occurred to me that maybe I could transform the idea into a salad. It works beautifully, with all the flavor of a traditional elote. It’s great for a crowd, but is also a great way to take fresh corn along to a party. If you don’t have the grill going, it is perfectly fine with just-boiled kernels.

Cotija cheese is a salty Mexican cheese you’ll find in with other Hispanic cheeses at most god groceries. If you don’t find cotija, queso fresco is a good substitute. I prefer to buy blocks and crumble it myself to get even chunks

Food52 Review: Using the ingredients in elote to make a salad is not new, but TheRunawaySpoon's version was unequivocally yummy, especially after letting it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors get acquainted (cumin, meet ancho; ancho, meet cumin). And - this is important to those of us who tend to wear our food - much, much neater to eat than from on the cob! One caveat: unable to procure cotija cheese here in upstate New York, we went with her recommendation to use quesa fresco; I would rather have used some parmesan or even ricotta salata. wssmom

Serves: 6 - 8, easily doubled or trippled

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or more to taste)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ears fresh corn, shucked and silks removed
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • salt to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, juice of one lime, the chili powder and the ground cumin. Blend well and set aside.
  2. Cook the corn on the cob. You can bring a large pot of water to the boil, drop in the cobs and bring the water back to the boil. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it and let the cobs cook for five minutes. If you’ve got the grill going, you can then place the cobs on the grill to get a nice char on the kernels, but it's fine if you don’t grill.
  3. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife. Place the corn in a large bowl and squeeze over the juice of one lime.
  4. Toss the kernels around to absorb the lime juice. Add the cotija cheese and toss to combine. Stir in the mayonnaise dressing to coat all the corn kernels.
  5. Add salt to taste and mix well. This salad will keep covered in the fridge for 24 hours.

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Reviews (13) Questions (0)


kathleen312 September 3, 2012
I made this salad last night and added some fresh cherry tomatoes and flat-leaf parsley from the garden (not much), finely diced boiled potatoes, a touch of red onion and an organic pear I had left over from the week. I used a cup of Trader Joe's mayonnaise and juiced both limes into the wet mixture with a bit more cumin than the recipe calls for. I added salt to the wet mixture as well. Instead of the cotija, I used feta cheese! I know, either you're going to love it or hate it. I have two young kids and a picky husband, and I got thumbs up from all three. The basic recipe is solid and I will use it over and over again. BTW, I grilled up lobster tails that were on sale at Whole Foods to complement this salad and we had a feast! Great dressing, awesome recipe - thanks!
MenCanCook August 13, 2012
This recipe represents a very nice transition from grilled corn on the cob which we do regularly during the summertime. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious. Was unable to acquire cojita cheese on the Outer Banks of North Carolina so used a combination of feta and parmesan. In one portion of the mixture I used chipotle pepper powder instead of the chili which gave it a nice smoky flavor. Canned corn can be used, of course, but highly recommend that it’s drained well. Overall, a very nice summer salad.
susan G. August 10, 2012
Last night I had the on-the-cob version at a restaurant. I loved it, and I'll love even more making this, for happy eating and clean hands!
conniejac August 5, 2012
I always prefer raw corn in the summer over boiled or grilled--it's really one of the greatest pleasures of summer produce. I make a very similar variation of this with lime, lemon and cumin. Not sure if the mayo may overpower the sweetness of the corn? I'll have to try it sometime, maybe with fish tacos? Thanks for posting!
Kitchen B. August 5, 2012
It looks and sounds wonderful......Corn is also in season in Nigeria and I cooked some cobs a couple of days ago which I've frozen. I'm definitely going to try this - but with Feta as I dont have cojita chees