Elote is a beloved Mexican street-food. There, you can easily stop by a vendor to pick up an ear of hot summery corn topped with tangy crema and popping with spice. It’s hard to resist. Our best advice? Jump on the bandwagon and make it yourself.
Good elote starts with good corn. Traditionally the corn would be boiled or roasted, but if you have the option at home it’s also delicious on the grill. The added element of char pairs beautifully with the creamy topping.
When it’s time for the topping, check out your local Mexican grocery store to find crema. This cultured dairy product is similar to crème fraîche. In a pinch, you could also swap in sour cream, but some recipes also use mayonnaise. In addition to adding a luscious texture to the dish, crema also serves as the glue that holds on the other toppings and spices.
While you’re at the store, scan the shelves for Cotija. Cotija is a hard cow’s milk cheese named after the city in Mexico from which it originates. The cheese itself is salty and mild. It usually comes in a block, and you can crumble it at home by grating it on the side of a box grater or tossing a hunk in the blender. If you can’t find Cotija, crumbled Parmesan (no need to splurge on the super-aged stuff) would be a decent substitute.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, the sky is the limit. At Blue Apron, we love traditional corn elote so much that we couldn’t help but borrow the flavors and toss them over our other favorite vegetables. It turns out this tangy topping is delicious on a variety of dishes. Start with the original, and then go wild with the four recipes below.