Have you heard of elote, the beloved Mexican street food? Mexican street vendors sell you a char-grilled cob of corn, slathered with crema or mayonnaise or sour cream, cilantro, chili powder, cheese, lime juice, and maybe a few other ingredients. People rave about it! I’ve never had it, mostly because I haven’t spent much time in Mexico, and also because I don’t live in a big city with tons of street vendors. Also… because I haven’t ever been able to wrap my head around mayonnaise on my corn on the cob. I’m sure it’s amazing, because everyone says it’s amazing, but I haven’t quite made that mental leap yet.
But here’s the thing. Turns out, Mexicans also make a delicious dish called esquites, which as best I can tell, is basically elote in a bowl. For some reason, combining all those exact same ingredients in a bowl makes way more sense to my crazy brain. So I thought I’d dip my toe in and try esquites, hopefully as a gateway. My concoction is adapted from this one. We call our version Esquites Americano, solely based on the addition of the American favorite – bacon. We ate this as a dip with tortilla chips, but it works as a side as well. It’s as delicious as people say!
(Adapated from Serious Eats)
- 2 strips of bacon, chopped into small lardons
- 4 ears of corn
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 3oz cojito (or feta) cheese
- Place the bacon in a large pan, over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crispy, and then remove to the side.
- Remove corns from its ears. Add the corn, jalapeño, and garlic to the pan. Increase heat slightly to medium-high. Stir to coat in the bacon fat.
- Cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until corn begins to brown.
- Combine ingredients from the pan in a large bowl with the cilantro, ancho chili powder, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Stir to combine well.
- Refrigerate until dip has sufficiently cooled.
- Then add cheese, crumbled or roughly chopped to the dish. Stir and enjoy!