I first had this luscious Mexican street food at a cool haunt frequented by my daughter and her college friends in Manhattan’s East Village. Mexican street corn – elotes – we’ve all have had, if not on the streets of Mexico, at most country fairs with its buttery cobs showered in grated cheese, dusted lightly with chili powder and lime spritzed. Esquites, I learned, is practically a cupped version of its cobbed brother and ideal for picnics or for using up leftover corn on the cob.
Kendall insisted we have esquites and housemade sangria, her favorites from this VW van food truck turned restaurant. Hmm, she wasn’t of drinking age, yet her scene was much more sophisticated than my college days of downing PBRs at a rundown pub with fly paper flooring. Certain, as most parents of college students, that given our kids’ meager budgets and our very excellent parenting skills, college consumption of alcohol was limited to a serving or two on occasion. What to do?
I was thirsty and wanting to be cool mom on campus, that’s right, I ordered a pitcher.
Rules for kids seem good until they get in our way. “The store is closing in five, the speed limit is just a suggestion.”
Shortly after the sangria situation, I bought tickets to an off off off-the-island, broadway show. I learned that because alcohol would be served as part of the experience, no one under 21 years of age would be admitted. IDs would be checked. Rather than give up tickets for this Brooklyn warehouse show that would pump alcohol into my underage daughter, I did what any caring mother would do who wants a rich artistic cultural exposure for her child, I asked her if she could get a fake ID.
The play, an abstract tribute to Lewis Carol and his Alice in Wonderland, required our 16 member audience to follow characters around the dilapidated hospital set. At one point during the show, after the mad tea party where we slammed cups and plates on the table in unison pattern that was conditioned into us lemmings by the actors, I would be alone with Alice in a room, brushing her hair while she asked me questions more provocative than any therapist. Kendall and I were separated after the first setting where she and I lay eyes closed on a small bed, while a beautiful fairly like creature dressed in white chiffon with ruby red lipstick, sat next to us telling a bedtime story. I could not stop laughing. That woman was inches from my face, with my eyes still shut and I started smirking, then shaking from holding in laughter and ultimately bellowed out. Kendall, the underaged one, kept it together nudging her mother to grow up.
So, here’s a toast to Kendall today for balancing our collective maturity. Happy 21st for realsies.
esquites, creamy, spicy corn
You can use fresh or previously cooked corn cut from the cob. Most recipes favor mixing mayonnaise into the corn mixture, but I like the restaurant version that dollops spiced mayo on the side, so one can pull in just the right spice mixture. I prefer chipotle chili flavor, but any chili powder will add heat richness. Start conservative with chili powder – taste and adjust according to your preference. For authenticity, sprinkle chili powder on top of the serving, but it will be strong.
preptime 20 minutes servings 6
- 5 ears of corn (fresh or leftover cooked)
- 1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp butter divided
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1/4- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (adjust based on your heat preference)
- 1/3 cup crumbled cogito cheese (parmesan also works)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- lime wedges for serving
- 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the corn from the cobs.
- Melt 1 Tbsp of butter a saute pan on medium heat.
- Add corn and chopped pepper and cook until well heated.
- Meanwhile, combine mayo and chili powder.
- Remove pan from the heat. Stir in lime juice and cheese until kinda melted, but you still want some gooey clumps.
- To serve, pour corn mixture into individual bowls or one serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro, a dollop of mayo and lime wedges. For bowl servings, serve the remaining spiced mayo on the side.
recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com