By MacKenzie Smith from Grilled Cheese Social
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Altos Tequila for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
If I could eat at street food every meal for the rest of my life, I totally would. There's just something so fun about walking around, going from booth to booth, seeing and smelling each vendor's creation and then thoughtfully picking which bites I want most. One of my favorite vendors is consistently the roasted corn peddler. I love how they cook the corn over an open flame, charring the little kernels into deliciously sweet roasted corn goodness.
I also love the whole pick-your-own-adventure that comes with the roasted corn, too. When they hand you the roasted cob, there's usually a table full of condiments to spice it up. Of course, there's always the traditional American options, like butter, honey, salt and pepper, but sometimes the vendors step up their game and put out parmesan, fresh herbs, hot sauce and the like.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to run into one of those next level roasted corn vendors who had allllll the fixings! Jerm (the bf) wanted his corn to resemble elote, aka Mexican-style street corn, so I tried to help him make it!
A lot of elote recipes call for mayo, but since it's swimsuit season here in Florida (and since the vendor didn't have mayo out) I figured we could swap it out for something a little more beach-friendly. I saw honey and thought about how perfectly sticky it is and drizzled it all over his roasted corn. After that, I sprinkled on some parmesan cheese, salt, and some of the chili lime seasoning that was on the table. I also grabbed a lemon from Jerm's freshly made lemonade and squeezed it on top. The results? Ridiculous!
And even though the people in line were looking at me skeptically (mainly because I took like 15 minutes to soup up his corn) as soon as he took one bite, all the people in line became interested. So, I, like any nice girl with an affinity for cooking would do, volunteered to soup up the corn of the person behind me... and then everybody in the whole line started doing it, too! Can you say trend starter? Lol.
It was such a hit that it got me thinking -- why do we always reach for mayo when it comes to elotes? Isn't there a more flavorful way to get the cheese to stick to the corn? And the answer is heck yes! So for you, who don’t have a local street vendor here are some ideas for how to make this at home with a twist. Instead of mayo, I used a delicious blend of tequila (yes, tequila), honey, fresh lime and salt to create the glue to basically hold the cilantro and queso fresco together. I always use Altos Tequila Plata because it's made with 100% pure agave and is top notch. Not only is it delicious for sipping, but it's also one of my favorite tequilas to cook with! Plus, it totally gives a smooth yet complex edge to the roasted corn and because of that, we're obsessed! Here’s where to buy.
Honey Tequila Street Corn with Queso Fresco and Lime
ears of corn
Altos Tequila Plata
queso fresco, crumbled
cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Begin by breaking each ear of corn in half. Get a large cast iron skillet and turn the heat to medium high.
Add oil and quickly add corn and sprinkle paprika on top while turning the corn every few minutes until it's crisped up and golden on most of the kernels.
Deglaze the pan with the tequila, turning the corn to soak up all the goodness.
Finish by drizzling the honey and lime juice on top. Set corn aside.
In a shallow baking dish, stir crumbled queso fresco with chopped cilantro.
Roll each corn cob in the cheese mixture, adding more honey if the cheese is having a hard time sticking to the corn, until all sides are coated.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Grilled Cheese Social
Mackenzie Smith is an ex-Brooklynite currently living in Florida. She is the executive chef at one of the country's top beach boutique Inn's, Black Dolphin Inn, the cheesy proprietor of Grilled Cheese Social, her personal blog and traveling pop-up business, and is the Sandwich Expert for About.com. Beyond cooking, styling, and photographing food 24/7, she loves surfing with her boyfriend, diving in natural springs, and traveling for food!