This Mexican Corn Salad is a terrific way to use corn for a side dish! Inspired by the popular Mexican street corn Esquites, golden brown corn kernels are lightly dressed with mayonnaise and sour cream, then given a burst of freshness with red onion, coriander/cilantro, lime and a hint of zing from Jalapeño.
My secret ingredient in this is parmesan cheese – it adds that extra something that makes this Can’t-Stop-Eating-It delicious!! (Direct quote from friend ☺️)
I wasn’t planning to publish this recipe for a few weeks but I’ve got not one but two friends waiting for the recipe. So I decided to bring it forward!
I think corn is one of the most underused ingredients here in Australia. Corn and corn products seem to be much more widely used in the US, in all sorts of ways that aren’t so common in Australia. Corn casserole, corn bread, tamale pie, all sorts of corn salads, homemade creamed corn (I don’t know a single person who knows or would be interested in knowing how to make this!), corn chowder(s).
For Aussies, I think the “go to” way with corn is to throw it on the BBQ or steam it and slather with butter. And there is nothing wrong with that – believe me, I’ll chow down a whole corn on the cob and be as happy as a pig in mud (probably look a bit like one too!).
So I was keen to share this Mexican Corn Salad because I think it’s a fantastic way to serve corn as a side that’s quite quick to prepare.
Though this recipe works great with frozen corn, if corn is in season (which it is here in Australia!), I really urge you to take 3 minutes to use fresh corn kernels. Plus, I even have a nifty tip for how to do this without the kernels flying everywhere – just use an inverted ramekin or something of similar shape/size inside a bowl and voila! The corn magically falls straight into the bowl instead of scattering all over the kitchen bench!
Oh – and you can see my Baby Hands in action doing this in the video below the recipe. No laughing. 👶🏻👋🏻😩 (Seriously, cheeky friends address me this way in text messages! SO RUDE!!!)
I made a couple of giant batches of this Mexican Corn Salad because I bought two lots of corn accidentally.
Wait, that’s not true. I couldn’t resist a bargain, ok? That’s actually what happened. 4 for $2 at Harris Farms!
So I made this Mexican Corn Salad twice in the space of a few days and shared it with friends. And I was pretty pleased with the enthusiastic response! To say they loved it would be an understatement. It was an actual situation where you had to eat fast, or miss out. Literally. You snooze, you lose.
And they’ve both asked me for this recipe more than once. 🙂
There’s nothing tricky about this recipe. It’s a salad version of Esquites, the popular cups of corn you get on the streets of Mexico. Sautéed in butter and served with varying combinations of mayonnaise, lime, sometimes spices, cotija cheese (it’s a Mexican cheese that crumbles like feta but it’s not as salty), coriander/cilantro, I could have happily had one for lunch every day if it weren’t for the dizzying list of other street foods I wanted to try in Mexico.
Because this is a giant side salad version of Esquites, I’ve added freshness with some red onion and shallots/scallsions. It makes it less rich and more suited to be a side salad – in my opinion. ☺️
Though inspired by a Mexican dish, it’s definitely not specifically “Mexican” flavoured. I’d happily serve this as a side for almost any non-Asian meal.
Just think of it as a great side.
Or a great meal. Really. Try it. And tell me if you’re tempted to have a giant bowl of just this for dinner! – Nagi x
- 4 whole corn on the cob (or 5 cups frozen corn, not thawed)
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise (I use 2 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp sour cream (or yoghurt)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp Jalapeno, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 cup coriander / cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shallots / scallions, green and pale green parts, finely sliced
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime (adjust to taste)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Cotija or Feta, to crumble (optional) (Note 2)
Cut the corn off the cob (see video for how I do this without getting corn everywhere!) If using frozen, do not thaw.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over high heat. Add half the corn and shake to spread it out. Cook, stirring / tossing occasionally, for 3 minutes (4 minutes for frozen corn) or until you get nice charred bits on both sides and the corn is just cooked (it cooks more with residual heat). Avoid stirring too often so you get nice brown bits.
Transfer into a bowl. Add remaining oil in the fry pan and cook the remaining corn, then add it into the bowl.
Add mayonnaise, sour cream and parmesan. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients. Adjust lime juice and salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- It's best to use freshly grated parmesan because it dissolves into the dressing easily and quickly. Some store bought parmesan cheese tend to not be finely grated enough to do this.
- Cotija is a Mexican Cheese which is not available in Australia (to my knowledge). It's like Feta but not as salty. It's just a garnish, so it's not essential.
- A touch of Chipotle or US Chili Powder would not go astray here. I don't add them because I think this is super tasty as it is, but a little sprinkle mixed through or on top would be lovely.
- Don't feel obliged to strictly follow the recipe for the add ins. You could use normal onion instead of red (but cut it down a bit because it's sharper) or eschallots, or just use more shallots/scallions. If you are one of those people who cannot stand coriander/cilantro, swap it for parsley. Jalapeño is optional, and you can sub with canned if you prefer. Or even use another spicy fresh chilli!
- This recipe is not meant to be coated thickly with mayo, like potato salad. Because the mayo and sour cream are added while the corn is hot, they melt and because a dressing. Feel free to increase the amount of mayo and/or sour cream if you want more!
Mexican Corn Salad recipe video! (Useful tip: how to cut kernels off cobs without them flying everywhere!)
Mexican Corn Salad nutrition per serving.
LIFE OF DOZER
Whenever I take a photo of Dozer running, all I can think is that there’s a lot of flapping. Ears, giant tongue, mouth flap, that feathered tail.
I know how he feels. I have quite a bit of flappage when I run too….. 😂