We think it’s fair to say that corn on the cob is one of the best parts of summer. Sweet and crunchy, it’s bountiful — not to mention dirt cheap — in most areas of the country. It’s also very dynamic: it can be grilled with or without the husk, steamed indoors, or boiled with a little sugar to really bring out the sweetness of this ubiquitous summertime side. But we had to ask: how do we pair cheese with this starchy veg?
First, the obvious: Mexican grilled corn. Food Comas has an especially nice take on the street-food staple, which involves grilling the corn in the husk before adding mayo, cayenne, lime juice, and cotija cheese. They explain, “Elote is the Mexican name for ‘corn on the cob’ and is a very popular street food in Mexico. Freshly grilled ears of corn are slathered with a variety of condiments such as chili powder, butter and/or mayonnaise, lime juice and then rolled in crumbly, salty cotija cheese and topped off with a sprinkle of lime juice and cayenne pepper. The result are extraordinary and must be tried.”
For a deconstructed version of elote, try grilled corn esquites with plantain chips nachos. The flavors are the same, but the chips add a hearty crunch. For a milder, kid-friendly take on the same idea, take a leaf from Saucy Girl’s Kitchen and make corn on the cob slathered in mayo, cumin, and parmesan. Cumin lends a Latin flair with less spice, and parmesan is easier to find than cotija, while still providing a similar texture.
If you prefer cheese with a little more bite, try these adorable corn on the cob kebabs from Soup Addict. Made by skewering a firm, salty cheese (halloumi or bread cheese is recommended) between two small disks of corn, they can be made in smaller sizes for appetizers or larger sizes for a more filling side dish. Bonus: corn on a stick is easier to eat! As Soup Addict says, “[Corn on the cob is] messy. It’s awkward to hold, and once you bite into it, you somehow feel compelled to finish the row you started, no matter what’s going on around you. At a picnic, balancing an ear of corn on your paper plate is asking a bit much. Corn kernels and bits get everywhere (especially in your teeth). You end up with more butter on your hands than in your tummy.” Not anymore!
No matter how you cook your corn this summer, adding cheese can take it from “good” to “great!”
Feature photo by Soup Addict