Everything you love about Mexican Street Corn, but transformed into the perfect sharable side dish, Grilled Street Corn Salad is absolutely perfect for your next barbecue, potluck, or Taco Tuesday.
Mexican Street Corn or Elote is a dish that consists of cooked sweet corn slathered in an incredible mixture of mayonnaise, crema, and chili powder and then sprinkled with cotija cheese. It’s a popular snack sold by vendors on the streets and at festivals in Mexico and also by food trucks in the States.
Our Grilled Street Corn Salad combines fresh sweet corn straight off the barbecue grill, along with grilled limes, jalapenos, and red onion that is mixed with the perfect blend of mayonnaise, crema, mexican spices, cilantro, and a healthy amount of cotija cheese.
It can be interesting where you find inspiration for a dish. Some friends recently posted a grilling picture that included corn, jalapenos, and limes. I definitely had a Holy (substitute another word) Cow moment!
Grilling Citrus! Why have I never done this before?!? We grill almost year round at my house, and not because we live in a tropical climate. I live in Missouri where winter includes a weekly snow event. We just really like to barbecue!
Grilling gives the limes a smokey depth of flavor and makes them extra juicy. I have a lot of grilled citrus ideas circling in my head. Stay tuned…
How to make Grilled Street Corn Salad
Start by choosing the freshest produce you can find. I adore farmers markets when local crops are in season for this. Choose corn that is still in the husk. Corn starts to dry out as soon as it’s harvested, but purchasing corn in the husk helps to prevent that from occurring as quick. As tempting as pre-shucked may be, in the husk is juicier.
Remove the husks and silk threads from the corn and the outer layer of the red onion.
Drizzle the corn and red onion with olive oil. Place the corn, red onion, jalapenos, and limes on in-direct heat on a medium temperature grill for about 15-20 minutes.
For the last 5 minutes, rotate the vegetables directly over the flames or coals to char the outsides. The charred bits add a lot of flavor.
Remove everything from the grill and cool long enough to be able to handle.
Slice the corn kernels off of the cob and place in a large mixing bowl. Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and interior ribs and then mince. If you like more heat, keep some of the seeds and ribs. Dice the onion. Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice and pulp.
Note: the photo above shows more limes and jalapenos then I used in the salad. The salad uses 2 of each.
Add mayonnaise, crema, cotija cheese, cilantro, salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
What is crema and cotija cheese?
Crema, sometimes referred to as crema espesa, and referred to as crema fresca in Mexico, is a Mexican dairy product prepared with heavy cream and buttermilk. While being similar in taste and texture to sour cream, it has a flavor that is distinctly different.
Cotija is a cow’s milk hard cheese that originated in Mexico. This salty, crumbly, dry cow’s milk cheese is sort of like a cross between feta and Parmesan.
Stir everything together and garnish with jalapeno slices, more cheese, and cilantro if desired.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
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Grilled Street Corn Salad
- 8 ears corn – fresh, husks and silk removed
- 2 jalapenos
- 1 red onion – outer layer removed – quartered
- 2 tablespoons grilled lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup cotija cheese – grated
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup crema sour cream may be substituted
- 1/2 cup cilantro – chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat.
- Remove husks and silk threads from the ears or corn.
- Remove the top and bottom and the outer layer from the onion and cut into quarters.
- Wash the corn, jalapenos, and limes.
- Drizzle the onion and corn with olive oil.
- Cook corns, jalapenos, limes, and onion quarters on indirect heat for 15 minutes.
- Rotate the vegetables over the flames for the last 5 minutes to develop charred edges.
- Remove from the heat and cool long enough to handle.
- Slice the corn off of the cobs and put in a large mixing bowl.
- Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the interior ribs and seeds. Finely chop the jalapenos and onion and add to the mixing bowl.
- Juice the limes.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Garnish with additional cotija cheese, cilantro, and jalapeno slices.