This is a recipe I promised someone that I’d write up probably about a year ago. A promise I renewed multiple times in the intervening year, and subsequently broke multiple times. Well today it is that someone’s birthday, and so even though the rainy, grey Paris weather couldn’t feel further away from Mexico right now, today is the day I’m finally writing up my recipe for Mexican street corn. Happy birthday Paddy!
Now the parenthetical statement in the title is really meant to be a huge authenticity warning. You would be really surprised about how many ingredients are impossible to find in Paris, and so I’m working with what I’ve got here. Will this be like the street corn you ate that time you were in Mexico? No. Would it make a delicious accompaniment to your next Mexican night? Definitely.
I originally came across the idea for this recipe, which we fondly refer to as Mexicorn, on this blog about two years ago, and it has been a huge hit every single time I’ve made it. My version has changed a bit over the years though. Actual corn on the cob is almost impossible to find in Paris out of season, and pretty expensive even when it is, so while I’m sure it tastes better on the actual cob, I’ve never made it. Frozen corn would also be preferable, but again is pretty difficult to find in Paris. I always use canned corn, it’s not ideal, but after roasting it and smothering it with all the good stuff, it still tastes pretty great.
To make up for my sub-par corn, I’ve amped up the spicing a little bit. It’s basically a taco seasoning, just suited to my taste. Feel free to change the proportions around, add or take a spice away, or just use chili powder. It’s your corn. This amount of spice mix however doesn’t taste too strong in the final dish, so you can also make a little more if you’re that way inclined.
If I lived in a perfect world, one that allowed me to purchase Mexican ingredients whilst living in Paris, I would use cotija cheese or queso fresco. But this is not that world, and I’ve found a lot of different cheeses will work in this recipe. In terms of replicating the crumbly, salty nature of the traditional cheeses, feta is your best bet. I’ve also had great success using Comté, a salty semi-hard universal cheese that’s easy to find here in France. As I so often find with cheese, it’s difficult to go wrong.
This is the trio that is going to elevate your corn even if it’s canned. The cilantro (coriander) is tempting to skip because it can be difficult to find, but it’s completely worth it. Also never throw the stems away! A lot of times the best flavor from fresh herbs is actually in the stems. Chop them up really finely, and mix them in with the leaves (chopped roughly). It’s not in the picture, but a little squeeze of lime (lemon is also acceptable) at the very end perks thing up a lot.
Roasted Mexican Street Corn
Serves 2 generously as a side
1.75 cups of corn
1 cup of cilantro/coriander
1 cup feta cheese (cotija or queso fresco are more traditional, or substitute whatever you have in your fridge)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice from half a lime (optional)
Preheat your oven to 205°C (400°F). Drain the corn well. Mix the paprika, cumin, salt, garlic power, and cayenne in a small bowl. Take half the spice mixture and combine it with the corn and olive oil in a roasting tin. Roast the corn for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
While the corn is roasting, prep your add-ins. For the cilantro, chop the stems finely and the leaves roughly. Mix the rest of the spice mix in with the mayonnaise. Crumble or grate the cheese.
When the corn is nice and roasted on the outside, but still juicy on the inside (about 25 minutes in the oven), remove it and mix everything together. Serve immediately.