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 —TheRunawaySpoon
Test Kitchen Notes
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
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, juice of one lime, the chili powder and the ground cumin. Blend well and set aside.
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.
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.
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.
Add salt to taste and mix well. This salad will keep covered in the fridge for 24 hours.