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Have you mastered the art of pushing a grocery cart while eating? I have.

Picture me in the parking lot of our local grocery store, nudging the cart forward with a hip or an elbow, while simultaneously shoveling spoonfuls of freshly roasted corn in a cup into my mouth. A few years ago, there would have been a chubby toddler seated in the cart basket, looking up at me with pleading eyes, begging me to share.

In the late summer and early fall, our supermarket features a local corn roaster that serves up heaping Styrofoam cups of freshly roasted corn. The aroma of mesquite embers as you exited the store was their advertising hook; the jealousy I felt when watching other shoppers enjoying their purchased elote envasado sealed the deal – I had to buy my own cup.  Al estilo Norteño, the toppings offered are sinfully delicious: butter, crema, dollops of thick mayonnaise, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a dusting of parmesan cheese and powdered chile. Salty, sweet, sour and creamy, slightly crunchy and smoky, a cup of elote includes every flavor and texture that drives a corn lover wild.

Autumn barbecues are the perfect time to make your own elote in a cup. Simply rinse your un-shucked ear of sweet corn under running water, and place on the grill next to your steaks. The corn will steam inside the husk, and can be eaten off the cob, or remove the kernels using a sharp thin knife and a shallow plate. Simply peel back the husks and twist them into a handle at the end of the cob for a secure grip while carving off the kernels.

God bless the automobile engineer that made cup holders a standard feature in family vehicles. Otherwise, during elote season, I know I would try steering the car with my talented hip or elbow. 

Esquites (aka Fresh Corn in a Cup)

  • 4 large ears of corn, either white or yellow
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican style crema (substitute sour cream)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 lime cut into 4 wedges

Get the full recipe.

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