In our house, we love the movie Nacho Libre. Â Of course it is silly, but it is also heartwarming and touching in many ways (with a great soundtrack too). Â Thankfully, most of it is safe for children because it is one of their favorites — but I am a little liberal when it comes to movies. Every time we see it, I seem to enjoy it more.
In one scene, Steven is eating street corn and it always looked absolutely delicious. Â And when he offers it to Nacho, he yells “get that corn outta my face” and swats it away. It has become a standard line in our house anytime corn is served. Â Actually, movie lines are a big part of almost everything we do (Hello National Lampoon’s Vacation? We can’t start a trip without some reference to it. Â OK, so maybe not that part I linked to though.)
When we saw that a local vendor started serving grilled corn at our farmer’s market, I immediately told the kids we were going to have Nacho’s “Get That Corn Outta My Face” for lunch that day. Â After trying it, my three year old decided we needed to call it “Get That Corn In My Face.” Â He devoured it. Â And then, somehow, ideas for Mexican Corn or Cuban Corn were everywhere. Â I saw recipes in Cooks Illustrated and my hometown newspaper all in the same week. Â It is apparently the “Tuscan” anything or the dulce de leche of this summer — somehow everyone decides it’s popular and pretty soon Pizza Hut is serving it.
I decided I was going to figure out my version of it in time for corn season — even though I generally don’t fuss too much with corn beyond boiling, buttering, and salting. Â I never want to risk the fleeting season by wasting a dozen ears on a dumb recipe. Â This, however, is worth it. Â It is divine.Â I will warn you that it is rich — much richer than the corn you are probably used to. Â Grilling the corn really enhances the sweetness and the kernels lose a little bit of their pop, making it almost meaty. Â The toppings make it even richer — so it’s almost a meal in itself. Definitely serve it with something light. Â If I could get my act together, I’d love to have a grilled corn party where I serve nothing but corn in this style with lots of different sauces and toppings. Â What a great end of summer party that would be … Â served up with appetizers and lots of real margaritas.Â And, of course, we’d all have to wear our stretchy pants.
Grilled Mexican Corn
Makes one dozen ears
1 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 t ground cumin
1 t smoked paprika
Zest of one lime
Pinch of chipotle powder (or more to taste if you like it spicy)
1/2 t salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 T butter, melted
1/8 t smoked paprika
1/8 t ground cumin
1/8 t salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 dozen ears of sweet corn
1 1/2 cups Queso Fresco, Cotija, or Feta Cheese (in small crumbles)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
12 wedges of lime
1. Â Mix ingredients for mayonnaise mixture in medium bowl. Â Mix ingredients for melted butter mixture in a small bowl.
2. Â Preheat grill and rub ears of corn with melted butter mixture.
3. Â Grill corn for about 8 minutes. Â (We used indirect heat and grilled the corn for about 8 minutes indirect, turning frequently, followed by about 1-2 minutes over the coals to char the ears lightly. Â I have also done this on a low flame gas grill — just be sure you are turning and moving the corn frequently so it doesn’t char too much. Â The goal is to have the corn be just cooked with a slight char on it.) Â Remove corn from grill and place onto a platter.
4. Â Put cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges in separate serving bowls next to platter of corn. Â Brush each ear of grilled corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Â Then sprinkle with cheese, cilantro, and the juice of a lime wedge. Â (You can do the whole platter or allow guests to prepare their own ear of corn.)