When I created this summer salad, I was envisioning the corn on the cob sold by our neighborhood Mexican elote street vendors. “Elote” simply means “corn on the cob” in Spanish. The vendors traditionally serve the cobs coal-roasted with a squeeze of lime juice, slathered with (imitation) butter and mayonnaise, rolled in Cotija cheese and sprinkled with Ancho chile powder or cilantro. Sounds like overkill, but when done properly, they’re utterly addictive.
For my salad version, I originally envisioned closely following the traditional list of ingredients, but since I was making this side dish for a sweltering June afternoon barbecue, I decided sunbaked mayonnaise may not be the best choice for a food-poisoning free day. My consternation then turned to cilantro. While I love the bright-green herb (especially on sandwiches and in salads), I realize there are many cilantro-haters out there, claiming it tastes like soap (others even asserting “cilantro allergies,” but color me doubtful.) Accordingly, I opted for the less-divisive dried Mexico oregano. The final recipe resembles nothing of Mexican street elote, but, nevertheless, it’s quite tasty and perfect for a summer backyard barbecue.
Roasted Mexican Corn Salad
No mayo, a breeze to make, and no need to refrigerate - the ideal side salad for a summer backyard barbecue.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon pickled jalapeno, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 3 cups roasted corn
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup celery, diced
- ½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, pickled jalapeno, dried oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine corn, red bell pepper, green onions, celery and Cotija cheese. Pour dressing over corn mixture and toss. Let rest for 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Tip: I roll leftovers of this flavorful salad in flour tortillas for an easy summer mid-week dinner.