Messy goodness on a stick. That’s what this is. Crunchy, juicy, sweet corn on a stick slathered in butter AND mayo, coated in crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, salt AND drizzled with lime juice… it is one of those ubiquitous street foods of Mexico. I stalk crazy corn vendors when I am in Mexico, and my kids do exactly the same thing. To keep us all out of jail, I give them a hit of crazy corn at home. Though my boys tend to have radically different preferences, this is one where their preferences clearly align. They want it all on. When you serve it, just lay out all the garnishes, lots of napkins and let them go. —Pati Jinich
fresh ears of corn, husked and rinsed
vegetable oil, if grilling
Unsalted butter, to taste
Mayonnaise, to taste
crumbled queso fresco, Cotija, farmer’s cheese, or mild feta
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
Dried ground chile, such as the piquín, ancho, chipotle, or a Mexican mix
Lightly brush the ears of corn with the oil. Place over an already hot outdoor grill or indoor grill pan set over medium heat until hot. Let the corn cook and char slightly, turning every 3 minutes, until tender and cooked through, 9 to 12 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the corn in a big pot of boiling water until tender, 4 to 8 minutes depending on the freshness of the corn.
Remove the corn from the heat and pile on a large plate or platter, along with corn holders or thick wooden skewers. Serve with the garnishes so everyone can fix their crazy corn the way they want. The traditional way is to spread on a layer of butter, then a layer of mayonnaise. Next, thoroughly cover the corn with the crumbled cheese, either by rolling the corn on a plate of the cheese or sprinkle it on. Finish with a shower of salt and ground chile, then a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice.
I forgo my job in the Washington DC policy research world to research, test, taste, cook, write, teach and talk about Mexican food. Not only because of nostalgia and desire to connect to my roots, but because I love sharing all I learn and I am fascinated by Mexico cuisine's richness and depth.