Elote, Mexican street corn seasoned with chili powder, crema, cotija cheese, and lime, is arguably the best way to eat corn (okay, I might be biased). This seasoning blend allows you to add corn-y flavor to a wide range of foods, even long after corn season is over.
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So, what's in it? The ingredients list sugar as the first ingredient, which helps to emulate the sweetness of fresh corn. Sugar is followed by sea salt, corn flour, chile pepper, Parmesan cheese, chipotle powder, natural flavor, citric acid, dried cilantro, organic rice fiber, and cumin powder.
I can't get enough of this seasoning blend. It's sweet, smoky, salty, and tart, with a subtle undertone of corn flavor. Here are all of the things I've put it on lately.
If you’re not making popcorn at home, you should be. It’s easy and it’s inexpensive (especially compared to store-bought bags of popped popcorn). Most importantly, it’s endlessly customizable, and you should be putting Everything but the Elote seasoning on it.
Follow this Cook’s Country recipe for Buttered Popcorn and instead of salt, add about 1½-2 teaspoons of elote seasoning. It’s the perfect mix of sweet, salty, smoky, and tart (thanks to the citric acid).
Sauces and Dips
I whipped up a batch of Thick-Cut Oven Fries and decided a creamy dip would make a perfect match. Using Cook’s Country’s Chive Sour Cream as inspiration, I left out the rosemary, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and added the elote seasoning instead.
The result? The flavor of sour cream and onion chips with an extra smoky hint.
Watermelon + a little salt = refreshing perfection, as exhibited in watermelon salad or watermelon agua fresca. I sprinkled the elote seasoning on cubed fresh watermelon, and it was exactly what I was hoping for.
The sugar in the spice mix accentuated the sweetness of the watermelon, while the chile pepper and chipotle powder added a welcome smoky note and the sea salt and Parmesan contributed savory contrast.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
Making your own tortilla chips is incredibly simple and produces chips that are sturdier and more flavorful than most store-bought options. Once they came out of the oil, I simply dusted the chips with about 1½ teaspoons of the elote seasoning and tossed them together.
The corn flour in the seasoning underscored the toasty corn flavor of the tortilla chip, with a pleasant sweetness and lingering heat.
I recently visited Jinny’s Pizzeria in Newton, Massachusetts, and was determined to order the most seasonal items on the menu, one of which included a “street corn” pizza. Since then, I’ve wanted to re-create it at home.
After making Cook’s Illustrated’s Thin-Crust Pizza dough for the base, I mixed the elote seasoning with ricotta and fresh lime juice. Then, I added fresh corn cut off the cob from two ears and cotija cheese. Once it came out of the oven, I finished the pie with chopped cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a final sprinkle of more elote seasoning.
A Cocktail Rim
There’s nothing quite like a homemade margarita, so I turned to Cook’s Illustrated’s Best Fresh Margaritas (they are, um, the best). Instead of tequila, I used mezcal, and I rimmed the glass with elote seasoning. It added a little sweetness and a little heat, and it echoed the smokiness of the mezcal.
Why not double up on the corn and add Everything but the Elote seasoning to elote itself? I don’t have a grill, so I used Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for Foolproof Boiled Corn. Even though the corn itself lacked that distinctive smoky flavor of classic elote, the chipotle powder in the seasoning helped make up for it.