Late summer is one of the best times of year for recipes laden with sun-ripened fruits and veggies. This Mexican street corn salad is one of my favorite ways to eat one of my favorite foods – summer corn.
When I was a kid, school never started in August, and summer most certainly didn't end then either. The last weeks of August, when summer was winding down, always held the most nostalgic feelings of the season for me. The food echoed this, and the peaches, tomatoes, and corn were the sweetest and ripest, tasting like sunshine bursting from every bite.
In the evenings after long days of playing at the community swimming pool, my parents would grill up burgers and serve them up with the finest the summer harvest had to offer. Just thinking about it fills my mind with the smells, tastes, and the very essence of summertime.
Now that I'm a grown up living in the endless summer of southern California, I have to pay a bit closer attention to sense the depth and richness of the seasons. But despite what naysayers believe, Californian seasons do exist.
Our farm box brims with corn, tomatoes, and stone fruits and the urge to lounge on the beach or play in a pool rings loud and clear. Ice cream and popsicles all around.
Which brings me to this recipe… Living in Los Angeles for over fifteen years, I've discovered more than a few wonderful ethnic food traditions. One of my favorite is Mexican street corn, where your cob is mounted on a stick from a little food cart and smeared with everything from mayonnaise and salty cheese to lime, chili pepper, and more. YUM.
This salad marries the joy of Mexican street corn into a potluck/lunch box/fancy dinner appropriate salad that is one of my absolutely favorite new recipes. And of course, when you make it at home, you're in charge of the ingredients. (See my note about my mayonnaise discovery below!)
Many folks worry about the issues with GMOs and corn, and I agree, that this is a real problem. Though by definition, organic produce cannot be genetically modified, corn crops are highly susceptible to contamination due to the way they cross-pollinate. While it's easy to want to avoid corn out of fear, I prefer to support the efforts of organic, non-GMO farming so that they can continue to fight the good fight. (And I can enjoy the wonders of summer corn).
Mexican street corn salad ingredients
- 8 ears fresh corn
- 1 bunch green onion
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 jalapeño peppers, optional for heat
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – I like this one
- coarse sea salt, to taste – this is my favorite
- 6 ounces queso fresco, or cojita cheese
- 2 limes
- 3 medium avocados, (semi-firm but ripe)
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise***
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, plus more to taste
A quick note about mayo:
I always hated the stuff until I discovered homemade mayonnaise. You can learn how to make it in this post – it's SO much easier and more delicious than I ever imagined. That said, I finally discovered a jarred mayo that isn't made with canola or worse. Instead it's made with nutrient dense avocado oil and organic eggs – YAY!
No time for homemade mayo?
Click here to buy avocado oil mayonnaise online here.
Mexican street corn salad method
- Husk the corn and cut the kernels from the cobs. Chop the green onions. Chop the cilantro. Stem, deseed and mince the jalapeno pepper. Mince the garlic.
- Heat oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add corn, season with salt to taste and toss, then let cook, tossing only occasionally (about every 2 minutes) until corn is well charred all over (about 6 – 10 minutes total). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Crumble the cheese finely. Juice the lime. Peel, core and dice the avocado.
- Add corn to a medium bowl along with onions, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, three quarters of the Cotija, mayonnaise, two thirds of the lime juice and chili powder and toss. Pour remaining lime juice over diced avocados then add to bowl with corn mixture and gently toss. Top with remaining Cotija and additional chili powder to taste.