I was destined to make this recipe.
You see, I was at the local farmer’s market the other morning when I came across this unusual corn. It’s called Mirai (me-RYE), which is an ultra sweet hybrid that has an amazingly soft texture. It’s so tender that you can literally eat it raw.
Fortunately, there’s a farm in Harvard, Illinois, just outside Chicago where I live, that grows the corn and sells it at local farmers markets, which along with farm stands is usually the only place you can find it.
In Japan, it is hand harvested and sold as a dessert. It definitely is that sweet. When I first tasted it, I thought it had been soaked in sugar water.
So when I arrived home with all this Mirai corn — I got a little excited and bought too much — I was trying to figure out what to do with it when I came across this recipe for Mexican street corn in Runner’s World magazine, of all places!
I’ve been an on-and-off subscriber to Runner’s World (and an on-and-off runner) for probably the past 20 years, but I’ve never paid attention to the recipes, most of which tend to be directed more at the athlete than the epicurean.
But this recipe — submitted by Mark Bittman, the excellent New York Times food writer, who I’ve mentioned in this blog before — just leapt off the page at me.
I had never heard of Mexican street corn before and wondered if it was just something that perhaps Bittman simply made up. But a little research revealed that Mexican street corn is in fact a well known dish that is served not only by street vendors in Mexico, but in various other versions all around the world. I did not know that.
What I do know is that it’s delicious, easy to make, and is hearty enough to be a meal all by itself. And when you make it with the sweet Mirai corn, you could even serve it as a desset.
Mexican Street Corn
4 ears Fresh Corn, shucked
1/4 cup Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBS Chili Powder
Grated zest and juice of 1 Lime
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 cup Tortilla Chips, crushed
1 oz Queso Fresco Cheese
1. Preheat your grill. Soak corn in water for at least 15 minutes prior to grilling, then place on the grill, not directly over the heat, and cook until done, turning frequently. Because Mirai corn is so tender, this took only a minute. With other kinds of corn, it could take as long as 15 minutes. Let the corn get a good char on it, but don’t burn it.
2. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, oil, chili powder, and the lime zest and juice. Meanwhile, place the tortilla chips in a sealable plastic bag and smash them until they are crumbs.
3. Brush the cooked corn with the mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with the tortilla chips, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve warm.
Queso fresco (literally Spanish for “fresh cheese”) is a white crumbly young cheese that tastes almost like Feta, but not as strong. It can be found in any Mexican market and even in many chain grocery stores.