It never occurred to me how easy it might be to make elote — spicy Mexican-style corn on the cob — until my friend Fiona brought the dish over to a dinner with friends last summer. It had always seemed like an obscure melange of ingredients that wasn’t easily reproduced at home. But the opposite is true. The real secret to elote is using either mayonnaise or creme mexicana — how often does mayonnaise sneak into recipes and elevate them from “just good enough” to great?
It’s hard to improve upon a freshly-picked ear of corn seasoned simply with salt and butter, but this one does the trick. It’s summer eating at its best: ultra-simple and quick to prepare.
4 ears corn in husks
1/4 cup mayonnaise or creme mexicana
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
Lime wedges, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ears of corn in their husks. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove the corn with tongs and set aside to cool, about 5 to 10 minutes.
When the ears of corn have cooled enough to handle, carefully pull the husks back, keeping them attached to the corn. Remove the silks.
Brush each ear of corn with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Sprinkle grated cotija over each. Finish with a light dusting of a mix of ancho and chipotle chile powders.
Serve warm, with lime garnishes on the side.
All photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink.