It’s gnarly looking and messy to eat. This Grilled Mexican Corn is the BEST corn I have ever had in my life. (And I don’t say that lightly).
Until a few weeks ago, the best corn I had ever had in my life was David Chang’s Corn with Bacon and Miso butter at Momofuku in NYC. The second best corn I had ever had in my life was Mexican Street Corn in LA (the real deal, called Elotes).
Both of these have now been bumped down not 1, but 2 places. For the most unexpected reason.
I live in a wonderful area of Sydney, known as the Northern Beaches. It’s north of Sydney city and I think it encompasses all that Sydney is known for – beautiful beaches, friendly people, laid back outdoor lifestyle, lots of greenery. And plenty of dog beaches which is a huge plus because my dog Dozer (an abnormally large golden retriever) is obsessed with swimming and chasing sand (yes, chasing sand. Not balls.)
However….I wouldn’t say the Northern Beaches is great for ethnic food. As Aussie as I am – and believe me, I need a regular meat pie fix – I blame the Japanese blood in my veins that has me hankering for a good Asian fix at least once a week. So I make the 30 minute drive to the nearest area with plenty of Asian restaurants (for Sydneysiders reading this, it happens to be Chatswood) just to get some real dumplings, Dan Dan Noodles or BBQ Duck or whatever it is that I happen to be craving. (I have also been known to drive all the way to Parramatta – about 50 km away – just to get laksa. Yes, I’m nuts.)
As a result, I tend to temper my expectations when I dine out locally. So imagine my surprise when I visited a local Mexican restaurant called Mexicano in Narrabeen and not only was it scrumptiously delicious on every level, it is the best Mexican I’ve ever had in Sydney. It’s the closest I’ve had to the real deal (which is saying a lot in Sydney where Tex Mex still dominates). And they do killer margaritas too, which always scores highly in my books.
The stand out was the corn. Really. It sounds so weird saying that. Me, the taco fiend, saying that a vegetable dish was the stand out.
It was that good.
Char grilled, smothered in a chipotle mayo and coated in parmesan cheese, it was so good that I would have hoovered down the whole plate myself except I was with friends and I hear it’s rude not to share (isn’t it?).
So I made it my mission to replicate it at home. The menu describes it as “chargrilled corn with chipotle mayo, cheese, lime and smoked spice.” It took a few goes, making a sauce with punchy enough flavours to compliment rather than being drowned out the strong smoky char grilled flavours. But I’m really happy with what I came up with. I dare to even say that it’s even better than the restaurant’s!
So here’s the new Corn Pecking Order:
1. My homemade Grilled Mexican Corn with Chipotle Adobo Sauce (i.e. this recipe….in case it wasn’t clear!)
2. Mexicano‘s (Narrabeen, Sydney) Char Grilled Corn (which I copied)
3. Momofuku David Chang’s Corn with Bacon and Miso Butter
4. Real Mexican Street Corn Elotes (i.e. the real, real deal Mexican corn).
So here’s the recipe for the best Mexican corn ever. At least, in my humble books. 🙂
- 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce (1 chipotle + sauce totalling 1 1/2 tbsp) (Note 4)
- 1/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise (Note 1)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano flakes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 4 to 6 corn on the cob
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Note 2)
- 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder , chipotle powder or smoky paprika
- Lime wedges , for serving
Place the Chipotle Adobo Mayo ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth. (Note 3)
BBQ: Heat the grill side on high. Grill corn for around 8 minutes, or until charred all over and cooked through.
Stovetop: Boil a large pot of water. Add the corn and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and let the corn steam dry in the colander for a few minutes. Heat a skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil over high heat. Add the corn and cook all over until nicely charred.
Allow the corn to cool slightly.
Place the parmesan in a shallow dish.
Use a pastry brush to generously slather each corn with the Chipotle Adobo Mayo.
Roll the corn in the parmesan.
Sprinkle with a pinch of ancho chili powder, and serve with lime wedges on the side.
1. Using whole egg mayonnaise is key to the recipe! Ordinary mayonnaise is more vinegary. Whole egg mayonnaise is available at supermarkets. There are many brands - just look at the label and make sure it says"whole egg". Japanese mayonnaise (called Kewpie that comes in a squeezy bottle) also works well.
2. Using freshly grated parmesan cheese is key to ensure loads sticks onto the corn without it being too "parmesany" and salty. The store bought grated parmesan will create a thick and heavy layer of parmesan which overpowers the corn. If you only have perforated parmesan, rather than rolling the corn in the parmesan, sprinkle it on.
3. If you don't have a small food processor, either double the recipe so you can make it in a regular size food processor or blender. Alternatively, you can ground the chipotle in adobo into a paste using a mortar and pestle or as a last result, chop the chipotle as finely as you can, then mix through the remaining ingredients. Use 1 tsp extra of sauce if you use this method as you'll leave some on the cutting board / mortar and pestle.
4. Chipotles in Adobo Sauce is dried chipotles in a dark red flavoured sauce. It comes in a can and can be purchased at Harris Farm Markets (Australia) for around $3. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to a month.
The amount used creates a medium level spicy sauce. It won't blow your head off! Feel free to reduce if you are concerned.
5. This recipe is adapted from this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Mayonnaise Recipe from NYT Cooking.
6. This definitely does not taste like it only has 138 calories a serving!