PATI'S MEXICAN TABLE

June 29, 2011 11:27 AM
Go Wild, Munch On Your Crazy Corn!


The Mexican way to wildly dress simply cooked corn drives me wild:

Crunchy sweet corn on a stick, brushed with butter and mayo, coated in tangy and salty crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, typically chile piquín or tajin, coarse salt and a liberal squeeze of lime juice...

It doesn't matter if I am hungry. The mere site of a street food corn stand makes me stop dead in my tracks and zoom over for one. Like a wild woman. I need one. Well, the truth is one is not enough, ever.

In Mexico you find corn stands all over, in little towns and big cities. Locals know what day of the week and at what times they show up. If you are not from there, it takes a while to figure it out.


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Last time we went to Chihuahua, after asking around for a while, we found the 3 Hermanos cart with Mauro in charge.

And does that man know how to dress that corn! He spoiled me and added an extra squeeze of lime juice.

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Corn can be simmered in water, many times with fresh Epazote. Or it can be grilled on a griddle or comal. If the kernels are shaved off, then the dish is called Esquites. But the traditional trimmings are the same for all.  

Yet, some people can get even wilder... You won't believe this, when Mauro was dressing our corn, a pregnant lady asked for her Esquites with all the trimmings to be poured inside a bag of Doritos. Yes she did. But if you ask me, about to have a baby, she was entitled to whatever kind of craving she felt like...


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Last week, thinking of the many things to do with summer corn for an appearance on the Today Show, I included Crazy Corn. But I opted for the grilled take, because as the corn chars, its natural sugar comes out and caramelizes, giving it an extra layer of rustic and sweet flavor.


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Thanks to the most professional, talented and fabulous food prep styling team, that of the Today Show, the Mexican street style corn that Mexicans love so much, looked so beautiful on the set.


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They had all the trimmings with alternatives and options. Different kinds of dried ground chiles: Ancho, Chipotle and a smoky mix. They also had the queso fresco and its seamless substitutes: Queso Cotija and its Mediterranean cousin, the Mild Feta.
 

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Crazy Corn is Mexican street food at its best, and it happens to be perfect for summer barbecues.


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Here goes one for you! Messy goodness, conveniently placed on a stick ready for you to munch on.
 

CRAZY CORN
Elotes
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
6 fresh ears of corn, husked and rinsed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Unsalted butter
Mayonnaise
1 cup crumbled queso, Cotija or Fresco, Farmers Cheese or a mild Feta
3 limes, halved to squeeze ontop
Salt to taste
Dried ground chile Piquin, Tajin or a Mexican mix, or to taste

TO PREPARE
Brush the ears of corn with a bit of oil. Place over a grill or grill pan, set over medium heat, and let the corn cook and char slightly, turning them every 3 minutes or until the corn is down, anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes.Remove from the heat. Alternatively, you can simmer the corn in water until tender.

Let everyone decide what they want on their Crazy Corn. You can stick the corn on corn holders or a wooden stick.

The traditional way is to spread butter and a layer of Mayo. Then the corn is thoroughly "breaded" with the crumbled cheese, sprinkled with salt and ground chile and finally, drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.