Andrea Maunder, locovore, wine expert and pastry chef, is the owner and creative force behind Bacalao, a St. John's restaurant specializing in "nouvelle Newfoundland" cuisine.

Mexican Street Corn

One of the joys of summer for me is fresh corn on the cob. Nothing rivals its sweet juiciness. When it’s in season here in Newfoundland and Labrador, I am always thinking of a new way to indulge.

If you haven’t heard of Mexican “street corn,” get ready to have a new obsession. Sold in Mexico by street vendors, it’s salty, sweet, tangy, spicy, creamy, cheesy and herbaceous – pressing ALL your flavour buttons! Steamed or grilled corn is slathered with a mixture of sour cream, spices, crumbly-salty Mexican cotija cheese (pronounced co-TEE-ha) and cilantro, and served with lime. Dry crumbly feta is a great substitute for the cotija, which is not available here. I love the added dimension of flavour from grilling the corn on the BBQ before topping with all the delicious seasonings. I steam the corn in the microwave before finishing on the BBQ to shorten cooking time.

A few caveats: If you can, buy corn with the husk still on. My microwave cooking method works best that way – and the husk can then be pulled back to form a handle to eat the corn. If you can find already crumbled dry feta, do. But if all you can get is the feta in brine, remove it from the brine, crumble it and set it to drain in a colander while you prep everything else. Buy full-fat sour cream (at least 14% fat), sometimes labelled “restaurant style.” You want it to be nice and thick to cling to the corn.

Lastly, you will notice I have included sumac in the recipe. It’s a Middle Eastern spice, red-brown in colour and naturally tangy. A Mexican grandma would probably skin me for suggesting it be used in a traditional corn recipe, but I just love the bright, citrusy notes it adds. Simply omit it if you can’t find it. (I have found it at Bulk Barn, Middle Eastern groceries and as a President’s Choice product.)

Mexican Street Corn
4 ears fresh corn, husk still on
1/2 cup full-fat (thick) sour cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dry granulated garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground sumac
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup crumbled dry (or drained) feta
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, quartered, to serve
Extra chopped cilantro to garnish, if desired


Heat up the BBQ. Pull off any brown outer leaves of corn husk and discard. Carefully pull back the husk, leaving it intact at the stem, and remove the silk from the ear of corn.  Then, pull the husk back up to cover. Place the ears of corn on a plate and microwave for 8 minutes. Let steam while you prepare the seasoning. Mix together sour cream, all the seasonings and the feta cheese; set aside. Pull back the husks and place the corn directly on the BBQ grill over medium-high heat. Place the corn on the grill so that the husks hang over the edge (so they don’t burn). Grill the corn 5-6 minutes, turning to mark all sides. Remove from heat and slather the corn with the seasoning mixture, coating well (a pastry brush makes this easier). Sprinkle extra cilantro to garnish, if you like, and serve with a lime wedge. Messy – and oh, so delicious. Provecho! (“Bon appétit” in Mexico). Yield: 4 servings

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