Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)
Serves 8 to 10
This quick corn salad, Campo Viejo’s take on the popular Mexican street food, is served with crumbled tortilla chips and is perfect for party snacking. You can substitute 2 pounds of thawed frozen corn in place of fresh corn.
- ¼ cup crema (Mexican-style sour cream), or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 ears fresh corn
- 4 to 6 dried arbol chiles, to taste (optional)
- coarse salt
- 1/3 cup cotija cheese
- 1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped, plus additional for garnish
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish
- chile seasoning, such as Tajin, to taste
- tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk together the crema, mayonnaise, lime juice, and garlic, and set aside.
- Use a sharp knife to cut each ear of corn in half crosswise, then stand each half on its flattest end and carefully slice the kernels off the cobs.
- In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add half the corn kernels and half the arbol chiles, if using. Season with a generous pinch of salt and stir gently to combine. Cover the pan and cook 4 minutes without touching, until the corn is charred. Transfer the corn to the bowl with the crema mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet and return to high heat. Add the remaining corn and arbol chiles and season with another generous pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook 4 minutes until the corn is charred. Transfer to the bowl with previous batch of corn and stir to combine.
- Add the cotija cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Sprinkle with chile seasoning, to taste. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with additional scallions, cilantro, chile seasoning, and crumbled tortilla chips. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.