The elotero, or corn on the cob vendor is one of the most appreciated vendor in the streets of Mexico. His announcement of “EEELLLOOTTEES!” is awaited with anticipation throughout all Mexican neighborhoods. Riding by in his carrito elotero or corn vendor cart, he hauls a large pot of boiling water, full of fresh ears of corn cooked to perfection.
With extra long tongs, the elotero pulls a plump corn on the cob from the depths of this giant pot of gold, stabs the bottom with a wooden stick and shakes off the excess water.
“Como se lo preparo?” “What would you like on it?” he asks, as he grabs what appears to be a paint brush, dips it in a large tub of butter and “paints” the corn in the creamy, thick yellow base. Toppings choices may include, mayonnaise, crema, cotija cheese, salt, chile powder and lemon. My choice: chile powder, cheese and a squeeze of lime.
I didn’t grow up eating my corn grilled, but boiled. Ironically enough, the first time I ever tried grilled corn was at a state fair in New Mexico, not Mexico so I always associate grilled or roasted corn to the Southwest.
If the corn vendor doesn’t pass by your house, no worries! You can now make your own Mexican-style street corn at home! Happy summer!
- 6 white corn cobs, ears and silk removed
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- 6 teaspoons cayenne chile powder
- 3 limes, juiced
- salt to taste
- 6 - 4" wooden sticks
- Rinse corn.
- Fill an 8-quart stockpot with 1 gallon of water, add corn and place over medium to high heat. Cover and cook to boil for 15 minutes or until kernels are plump and tender. Remove cobs from water and place on paper towels to drain and cool.
- To prepare corn:
- Carefully insert wooden stick in the underside of the corn. It should easily penetrate the corn if the corn is tender.
- Spread each corn cob with 1 tablespoon of butter (or less), sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Cotija cheese, 1 teaspoon of chile powder, lime juice and salt to taste.
Other optional toppings: Mayonnaise, table cream, sour cream and pepper.