The joys of summer are legion, and up there with lazy afternoons in the hammock and dips in your favorite swimming hole is the sweet crunch of freshly picked corn. Like a good ground chile (such as local favorite Piment d'Ville) or a handful of parmesan, arguably most dishes can be improved with the addition of these tasty kernels of summer gold.
To get your hands on this seasonal delight, check out the farmers markets, farm stands, and independent grocers near you. The best ears are still snug in their papery husks, Madame Nature's thoughtful gift wrapping. At the height of summer, fresh corn is pretty easy to come by. The hardest part will be deciding which recipe to use, as it can complement all sorts of dishes or be enjoyed simply roasted on its own. Still, if you need a suggestion, we humbly recommend this fresh and zesty corn salad.
Elote Corn Salad
3 ears of corn, husks removed
¼ c Mexican crema*
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Piment d’Ville or chili powder
½ c cotija cheese, crumbled (sub feta in a pinch)
½ c red onion, minced
½ avocado, chopped
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Optional: black beans, chopped tomato, or red pepper
*in most groceries, otherwise sub 2 T sour cream + 1 T mayo
Grill the corn, turning occasionally until slightly charred on each side. Remove from the grill and let cool to the touch. Over a large bowl or cutting board, hold the corn by the small end and cut off all of the kernels. Using the back of your knife, scrape out all the corn-ness from the remaining cobs. Combine with onions and cilantro.
In a separate bowl, mix crema, lime juice, and spices. Pour over salad and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top generously with chopped avocado and cotija cheese.