Do you know Magic Corn? Those little stalls that you see in random places? They sell corn mixed with butter (although I think margarine), spices, powdered cheese etc. I must confess to having a little pang every time I walk past it. I know it is utterly processed but it tastes so good. I discovered it in a moment of weakness in a suburban shopping center a few years back. I try not to have any now. My body is a temple, a temple dedicated to indulgence and joie de vivre. I am trying to turn that around just a little bit. Incidentally, the same goes for haribo, which is my kryptonite.
So, rather than fail and submit at the Magic Corn stand, I started to play around with corn combinations at home. Corn in butter or oil with spices, different cheeses, lots of different curious dressings. One of my favourites is Esquites from Mexico, where they have 59 different types of indigenous corn and a lot of wonderful corn dishes. Esquites is similar to Elote, where corn on the cob is slathered with mayonnaise (I sometimes prefer creme fraiche for brightness), Mexican cheese (feta works), coriander and lime. It is gorgeous. Esquites is pretty similar but the corn kernels are shucked from the cob. The result is a gorgeous vibrant corn salad, a world away from Magic Corn and with even more satisfaction.
Note on the recipe: I used dried chipotle, which I suggest you seek out (you can buy from Cool Chile Co online and in some shops and delis, The Spice Shop also sells chipotle online. I love the smoky heat, it is gorgeous with the corn. You can also get tins of chipotle in adobo which you could use too. You can substitute normal chilli, and it will still be good, but the chipotle gives it something special. You can substitute frozen corn if out of season, about 500g. In Mexico cotija cheese is used but I substitute feta as it is more easily available here.
Chipotle Elotes (Gorgeous Mexican Corn Salad)
3 ears of corn, corn kernels removed (cut the end off, stand the cob vertically, then run a knife down close to the core, releasing the gorgeous kernels – save the cores for stock!)
1 tsp finely chopped dried chipotle
1 tsp dried oregano (I used Italian oregano, which is not the same as Mexican oregano but works very well)
3 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
3 spring onions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
150g feta cheese (in the US you can easily get cotija cheese, but feta substitutes well in Europe)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
juice of one lime
1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp light oil
sea salt and black pepper to season
Sauté the corn kernels in the butter and oil over a medium heat until tender – about 12 minutes.
Add the garlic, oregano and chipotle and cook for a few minutes further.
Take off the heat and stir through the spring onions, mayonnaise and lime juice. Season to taste. Crumble the feta on top and stir through lightly.
Eats well warm or cold.
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