Guilt-free (almost) Mexican grilled corn

mexicancornGrilling season officially started at our house this past weekend, and when I thought about what to make for our inaugural meal on the grill, I couldn’t resist picking up some corn to make Mexican grilled corn on the cob. (I know, I know, this isn’t local corn, obviously, but my farmer’s market hasn’t opened for the season yet and I had a moment of weakness at the grocery store.)

Ever since our friends Mark and Carol took us to El Rayo Taqueria, their favorite Mexican joint in Portland, Maine, we have been in love with Mexican-style corn on the cob (and El Rayo!) Sometimes called Mexican grilled corn, or corn con queso, it’s corn on the cob that is usually grilled, and then slathered with a spicy mayo and/or butter, and lots of cheese. The cheese used will be either queso fresco (a fresh cheese) or queso añejo (an aged cheese), depending on the place or the recipe you find. I prefer the fresh cheese, as I think it goes better with the creamy dressing and complements whatever grilled meat or other items we’re having. But both are delicious.

To lighten this up, and because I don’t like mayonnaise very much, I substitute yogurt for most of the sauce. That, plus the addition of lots of freshly chopped cilantro make this a lighter, healthier side dish for whatever you’re grilling. (I highly recommend this with some chipotle steak tips and grilled veggies.)

Mexican grilled corn

quesofrescoBoth queso fresco and queso añejo are readily available in our local Market Basket, as well as several smaller Mexican groceries in the neighborhood. But, if you can’t find either, I’ve seen recommended substitutes as feta (for the fresh) or parmesan (for the aged). However, don’t skip the cilantro!

  • 1/2 cup of lowfat yogurt
  • 1 tsp of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili (or other chili) powder
  • squeeze of lime
  • pinch of salt
  • about 2 oz crumbled queso fresco (or queso añejo)
  • 3-4 T chopped cilantro
  • 4 ears of corn

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, chili, lime and salt. Set aside.

Shuck the corn, but leave most of the green husks attached at the stem; remove all silk, and then smooth the husks back up over the corn. Don’t worry if a few got pulled off, as long as you have some covering around the corn.

Soak ears of corn in water for 15-30 minutes prior to grilling. Once grill is hot, place corn on grill and cook with lid closed for about 10 minutes to cook corn just until barely done. Carefully pull husks back (or remove completely) from each cob (tongs help with this), and grill for 3-5 minutes longer, until you start to get some char marks on the corn – just a few, you don’t want it completely black of course. Note: we have a charcoal kettle grill; your times may vary if you use a gas grill. Grill it until it looks tasty!

Remove to a plate, and spread some of the sauce on each ear, and then top with some of the cheese and a good amount of cilantro. Enjoy!

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