Make sure you have ice cream in your freezer because your mouth will be mad at you after you eat this, and you will have to make amends. Then again, you don’t have to add as much cayenne as I do (which is to say, enough to char and wither your lips and tongue). You can be scant with it, or pass altogether, using only pepper for heat and flavor. I’m the kind of girl who travels with a bottle of Sriracha, hot is the way I role. Anyway, it’s August, corn season, and my friend Adam, who frequently travels to Mexico, turned me onto a Mexican street specialty that’s caught my gastronomic heart this summer. It’s simple, delicious, quick, and flexible. I’ll admit the way I do it is probably an abomination compared to the traditional version, which I’ve never had… so please forgive me, those of you who know and care. It’s just that I’m too busy to do it right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still great.
This is what you do. Have ready some grated hard cheese (I like Italian ones for this purpose, Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano for example, cheeses that don’t melt so readily). Cook as many ears of corn as you and your people want to eat. I keep it real simple: I heat up 1-3 ears in the microwave for a minute or two. It’s great to eat corn raw, steamed, or boiled. No matter how it’s cooked, it barely needs any time to cook, 1-3 minutes tops. The more salient point is that it is as fresh as can be, which is why a north eastern person like me can only make this in August. So now you’ve got hot ears of corn. Set them on a plate or platter. Spread them with butter, then mayonnaise. Yes, mayonnaise on top of the butter. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper, and if you are using it, cayenne pepper. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Eat. Follow with ice cream if the desire demands it.
I call this recipe “fast and loose” because in Mexico the corn would be grilled, the cheese would be cotija anejo, and you’d be eating it on the street in Mexico, not in the Freer Hollow Family Lab.
My apologies for the dark photo. It was a spontaneous shot on the heels of making the Elote this evening, where in the moment I just knew I had to share this with anyone who didn’t know about it already. And maybe I am the only person who did not know about Elote. I will also admit that for the first few weeks after Adam introduced me to it I continually called it “a-HOO-pa”, to much chortling here at the lab. I could not remember the name for the life of me. That’s enough rambling, go make this dish.