Mexican Corn On The Cob Seasoning
Mexican Corn On The Cob Seasoning
To make the popular Mexican street corn — also known as elote — boil or grill some ears of corn, slather them with mayo, give them a coat of Cotija cheese, sprinkle them with our hand-blended Mexican Corn on the Cob Seasoning and finish with a squirt of lime. Stand back to eat it, partly because it's a messy antojito (little snack) and partly because it looks fantastic, resplendent in cheese and spices. It's worth the mess to become the rock star of your family barbecue when you show up with a pile of elotes on a plate; just make sure you have plenty of napkins handy.
The elote (pronounced eh-LO-tay) and its sister recipe, esquites (es-KEY-tays), are Mexican street foods that have captured the hearts of cooks all over the world. They are variations of the same thing; esquites are essentially elotes, with the corn shucked off the cob and put into a bowl, and then dressed with the same array of condiments. Esquites are usually boiled instead of grilled and are easier to eat than the elote, but the elote is more fun. Both are portable anytime nibbles that elevate a plain ear of corn into a piece of cultural history, reaching back through time to pay homage to the ancient people that helped develop corn from the hard little knob of grain that it once was to the cornerstone of civilization that it is today.
The history of elotes begins many millennia ago, in the Central Balsas River Valley in southern Mexico, the area around modern-day Mexico City. According to National Geographic, an unassuming, grassy little grain called teosinte was found there in abundance. The ears on the teosinte were only 2-3 inches long, boasted between five and twelve kernels, and those kernels were contained in an extremely hard casing. Still, the ancients recognized Zea mays parviglumis as an important crop and began its domestication, selectively breeding it into the foot long, 500 kernel ear we have today. When the Nahua people migrated from northwestern Mexico and established the vast agricultural network that allowed them to bring the Aztec empire to fruition, they adopted this grain as their own. In the Nahuatl language, teosinte means "grain of the gods" or "sacred grain".
Elote and esquites also have their roots in the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztec and Toltec people of Mexican antiquity. These words originally meant "tender corn" and "toasted corn", respectively, so to your Aztec ancestors an elote was simply an ear of corn. Mexico has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with corn, particularly if it has been transformed into something that's easy to carry for people who need to eat on the go. They've provided the world with corn tortillas that make tacos, and ground it into masa harina to wrap tamales. Long before today's eloteros — literally, corn men — were toting their carts around Mexico City, vendors in ancient Aztec marketplaces were selling corn dressed with chiles as a proto-elote. Sources have documented the well-developed marketplaces of central Mexico at least as far back as the 16th century.
Demerara Sugar, Organic Corn Flour, Nutritional Yeast, Fine Sea Salt, Chipotle Morita Chile Powder, Ground Cumin, Citric Acid, Cayenne Chile Powder (medium heat), and Cilantro.
Our Mexican Corn on the Cob Seasoning Blend has a slight toffee edge from the demerara sugar that enhances corn's natural sweetness. That helps to balance the sharp, up-front heat of cayenne pepper, which is followed by the earthy notes cumin provides. This blend finishes with the smoky fruit flavor from chipotle morita chiles, for a robust seasoning that is delicious on its own and stands up to grilling or roasting, and would also be great on pork or chicken.
There are more variations to making an elote than there are neighborhoods in Mexico City. Betty Fussell, author of the Julia Child Cookbook Award winning book The Story of Corn, told us in an email that "…every culture (& area around the world) will have its own traditional flavorings and manner of roasting, toasting, steaming etc." So don't hesitate to cater to your tastes, because this recipe is infinitely adaptable. Join the worldwide chorus of elote fans, and cook it how you like it.
We like to grill ours, but you can boil or steam or roast yours. Then we put down some mayonnaise, but sour cream, butter, or crème fraîche are perfectly acceptable if mayo's not for you. Just let the corn cool a little before putting the mayo on; if the food is too hot, the mayo will melt right off. Cotija cheese, the salty, crumbly cow's milk cheese from the Mexican state Michoacan, is the traditional cheese with which to coat your elote, but you can use feta or parmesan if you don't prefer cotija or if it's hard to come by.
Then add a generous dusting of the seasoning blend. Our taste testers found that our blend delivers the right mix of sweet, heat, and savory, so we aren't shy about how much we like on our corn. If you'd like to add some extra zing, drizzle on some salsa picante or your favorite pepper sauce. Finish your elote with a squirt of lime juice and some chopped cilantro for a final shot of freshness, and enjoy!
Our elote seasoning is also great on vegetables; toss it on zucchini for a savory boost to calabacitas, or toss with diced sweet potatoes and roast for a sweet-and-smoky side dish. Or use it as a rub for pork chops. On movie night, take a tablespoon of elote seasoning, mix it with a touch more sugar, and add to popcorn for a savory sweet.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*