Major perk of being married to a farmer: sweet corn galore. All I have to do this time of year is call Zack up and he stops by the field, picks it right off the stalk, and brings it home for me to experiment with.
I do enjoy straight corn on the cob…but I honestly get bored of it pretty quickly. I would much rather make corn chowder, hot and cheesy corn dip, OR my absolute favorite way to prepare corn is to make esquites out of it. If you’ve never tried esquites, you have seriously been missing out on a very delicious part of life. The corn is charred lightly so it has a yummy toasty flavor, then it’s mixed with hot pepper, green onion, cotija cheese, mayonnaise, chili powder, cilantro, and citrus. All the esquites recipes I’m familiar with call for lime, but I recently tried a version with lemon while at A Toda Madre and it was to die for. I think I will forever use lemon rather than lime when I make my own esquites now. I’ve eaten this multiple times in the past couple of weeks, and I usually just do it to taste rather than by measurements, but the last time I made it I wrote down exactly what I did so I could share it and give you a guideline to go off of. However, depending on your own tastes and the quality of your ingredients you should definitely taste as you go and tweak it as you see fit. I actually believe that’s what you should do while cooking most things, but especially in a dish like this where there’s a combination of a lot of strong flavors. I must stress that this is best made to one’s personal taste. Experiment and enjoy!
Esquites With Lemon Aioli
6 Ears Of Corn
1 Jalapeno (or other hot pepper), diced
3-4 Sliced Green Onions
Handful Fresh Cilantro, lightly chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
Juice From 1 Lemon
Salt And Pepper To Taste
Chili Powder To Taste
1/2 Cup Cotija Cheese, crumbled
Cook corn on the grill until some of the kernels have a light brown char on them. To make the aioli mix together your minced garlic, mayonnaise, lemon (to taste), and salt and pepper. Slice the kernels off the corn (use an oven mitt to hold it if it’s too hot to handle) and combine in a bowl with the jalapeno, green onions, cilantro, crumbled cheese, lemon aioli, and chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon, cheese, cilantro, or chili powder as desired. Garnish with a light sprinkling of cheese and cilantro leaves on top. Serve warm to room temperature with lime wedges.
June in Illinois has been a failure thus far. The weather was cold and gloomy yesterday, but we thought we might as well go into town to get out of the house and make it an enjoyable Sunday anyhow. After an unintentionally long lunch (bad service!), I dragged Zack to the grocery store with me, in spite of his protests that grocery stores make him “uncomfortable”.
I decided after our long and filling lunch that I’d throw a dip together for dinner later that night. I was freezing throughout the entire day and I knew some hot cheesy corn dip would hit the spot that evening once we worked up a bit of an appetite. As we wandered through the produce section, I instructed my farmer husband to pick out some sweet corn. He looked at me incredulously, “You’re going to BUY corn? Do you know how much corn I just planted?!” I just shook my head at him, “So we’re not allowed to eat corn the rest of the year unless you grow it?” He begrudgingly added the sweet corn to our cart and we moved on with our day. Later that evening, after I boiled the corn, I went over to him with a piece I had shaved off of an ear. He tried it, “Well, its fine, but I can tell it’s not fresh”. Ridiculous man I married.