July – corn everywhere.

At the cookouts I attended over the long holiday weekend, it was grilled; baked into a creamy, cheesy pudding; mixed with black beans and peppers in a spicy salad and boiled. And all of it disappeared down gullets that can’t get enough of this iconic taste of summer.

So I had to try something new at the actual July Fourth cookout held on a friend’s blissfully shaded and expansive front porch.

What I tried was Mexican street corn – American style.

I clipped a recipe for this simple dish about three years ago, filed it and promptly forgot it. But when I attended a Father’s day food festival at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Charlotte, I actually tasted it. It will be a frequent dish this summer.

Now, you can be authentic and use crema Mexicana (similar to sour cream), chipolte chili powder and crumbled queso cotija – now common items in most grocery stores. And you can grill the corn in its husk for 30 minutes until it’s slightly charred.

But, as usual, I was running late and I didn’t have any of these things on hand.

So I assembled the American version as an appetizer while the grill heated and perplexed guests looked on. (“Is she putting mayonnaise on that?”) And hey, this was the way they made it at the food fair. Adaptation is a wonderful thing.

Mexican Street Corn Appetizer – cookout style

6 ears of corn, shucked and broken in half

1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (from a can or from your grater, whichever)

1/4 cup paprika

3 limes, each cut into four wedges

Lots of napkins

Boil the corn briefly. Five minutes is plenty for fresh Silver Queen corn. Drain it and place it in large plastic container, put lid on to keep warm.

Place parmesan in a plastic container large enough fit a half cob. Mayo and paprika go in separate plastic containers.

Don’t forget the limes!

Transport to party.

Remove lid from corn container. This is now your work space.

Using a pastry brush, coat a cob with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Roll the corn in the parmesan, hold it over the large lid and sprinkle heavily with paprika. Squeeze lime wedge over coated corn and hand it and a napkin to first hungry person available. Repeat.


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