Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)

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The Pasta Man is a young lawyer from Washington, DC. He cooks a lot of pasta and other things, too. He blogs at

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If you haven’t been to Mexico City yet, it’s time to add it to your travel list! The New York Times says it’s the number one place to visit this year. I’ve actually been twice in the past year. What’s so great about Mexico City? In a word, FOOD. Street food is everywhere in Mexico City, people are always eating, and the flavors are good. Like, really good. Tacos, soups, enchiladas, raw tuna with avocado on fried tortillas, grasshoppers – you name it, if it’s delicious, people in Mexico City are eating it.

Okay, so if you can’t get to Mexico City, or at least can’t get there in the next week, try this delicious Mexican corn salad. I even used feta cheese in place of cotija or queso fresco cheese, just to make it totally gringo – erm, Americanized – for you. It can be a little hard to find authentic Mexican spices and cheese if you don’t happen to live near an ethnic supermarket, although most major grocery stores are starting to up their variety of flavorful global ingredients.

Known as esquites, this is really elote in a bowl, and if neither of those things mean anything to you, just think grilled (or griddled) corn with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili pepper. Yeah, yum. Plus, this way you can eat it without worrying about getting sick from fresh vegetables while still, well, eating your vegetables.

Adapted from Serious Eats.





Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)


  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 ears corn, shucked with kernels sliced from cob
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 oz feta cheese (or cotija cheese)
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, stems roughly removed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • Juice from a lime
  • Chili powder, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add corn, season with salt, toss once or twice, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blend cheese in your Magic Bullet cup. Remove to a bowl and add the garlic to your cup. Blend the garlic and add to your bowl. Add the cilantro to your cup, blend, and remove to the bowl.
  3. Once the corn is ready, add along with the other ingredients to your bowl, stir it all up, and taste for salt.