Esquites (Mexican Street Corn): a Fabulous Summer Side Dish

Esquites: Mexican Street Corn

Esquites, or Mexican Street Corn: a fiesta in your mouth!

What, Exactly, Is Esquites?

Esquites is a summertime side dish recipe that utilizes the wonderful fresh corn that’s in season right now – one that will positively tantalize your tastebuds.  I first tasted esquites at a party at my friend’s house, after which, I begged her for the recipe.  One of my favorite parts of summer is grilling corn on the cob, because it takes the sweetness of the corn, and naturally enhances it, through the caramelization that occurs on the grill. But what if you found a way to accomplish that caramelization, and added some heat to the sweet, and then some creaminess, and some savoriness, a bright hit of citrus, and then some fresh herbal notes?
What you’d have would be a fiesta in your mouth. And that’s exactly what this dish, esquites, accomplishes.

For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t) what esquites are, I did a little digging in wikipedia for the origins of the word. “Esquites” comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word ízquitl, which means “toasted corn”. It’s a dish that some folks call “Mexican Street Corn”, because it’s often sold at little food carts or food trucks on the streets of Mexico.

I changed the recipe my friend shared with me only slightly. I varied it a bit by changing up the spice, and the cheese that I used. 

In terms of the spice, I used ground chipotle chile powder, rather than regular chile powder. I mention this because I think it made a significant improvement in the flavor. Ground chipotle chile powder is an ingredient which I’ve only noticed at my mainstream grocery store here in TN, recently . I like chipotle chile powder better than regular chile powder because a chipotle pepper is a chile that has been smoked. The smoky flavor is delightful, but the heat level is hotter than regular chile powder, so be advised that a little bit goes a longer way than you think it might. Alternatively, you could also use smoked paprika, for a similar flavor with less heat.

The first time I made esquites, I used queso fresco, which crumbles, but is not a super melty cheese. The second time I made it, I used queso blanco, which melts pretty well, but is a little squeaky on my teeth. I preferred the queso fresco, and my husband preferred the queso blanco. I think feta would work well as an alternative cheese. Feel free to use whichever cheese you prefer, and experiment with this recipe to make it your own.

Fresh Corn, cut from the cob

The thing that takes me the longest amount of time to do on this dish is shucking the corn, and cutting it off its cob.

corn on stove 2

Don’t stir the corn for several minutes after you spread it out in the pan. Allow it to develop the char (color) you want.

Esquites: Mexican Street Corn

Adding the remainder of the ingredients: the queso fresco and the cilantro

Mexican Street Corn

Esquites: Mexican Street Corn, ready for its closeup.

You are going to want to shower me with kisses for having shared this amazing recipe with you. In case you can’t find me to give me those kisses, a simple share on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter will do, nicely.  

The Recipe for Esquites: Mexican Street Corn

 

Esquites (Mexican Street Corn)
Serves 4
A delicious side dish that turns fresh corn into something sublime
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 T. Butter
  2. The kernels of corn from 4 ears of corn, sliced off the cob (around 3 cups)
  3. 1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  4. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  5. 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  6. 2 green onions, sliced
  7. 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
  8. juice of 1 lime
  9. 2 T. queso fresco, or queso blanco, crumbled, or chopped
  10. 1/4 t. smoked ground chipotle chile
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the corn, and allow it to char. Stir it up and allow it to char again, about 6 -10 minutes. Add the jalapeño and sauté it for a minute. Add the garlic and sauté it for one minute longer.
  3. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir.
  4. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Adapted from a photo of an image from some cookbook
Adapted from a photo of an image from some cookbook
That Susan Williams https://www.thatsusanwilliams.com/
 

Esquites: Mexican Street Corn. A Fabulous Summer Side Dish #corn #freshcorn #freshcornrecipes #summer #potluck #sidedish

Please pin this! You’re going to want to be making this all summer long.

 

If you’d like me to hook you up with a few other great recipes for summer side dishes, I can highly recommend my recipe for Aztec Salad. Another favorite that always brings exclamations of delight is my Shamefully Easy and Delicious Coleslaw. Or, if they’ve asked you to bring a salad, how about The Salad to Bring When They Ask You to Bring a Salad? That one’s another sure-fire winner! 


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