For a simple summer side dish recipe inspired by Bobby Flay that’s just a little smoky and spicy, roast or grill some ears and whip up this Chili Lime Corn.
Chili Lime Corn
This post was originally published on July 19, 2012. Photos were updated on August 10, 2016.
New Jersey corn, when in season, is amazing. I know that there are lots of Midwesterners who would turn up their nose at that, but trust me. So good! That is why usually I prefer to not do anything more to a good ear of corn (meaning one that was picked the day I am going to eat it) than throw it in boiling water for about 5 to 7 minutes, and eat it right off the cob, maybe with a little butter and/or salt.
But then, several years ago, for The Hubby’s birthday, I surprised him by getting his mom, brother and a couple of family friends in town, and we went to dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, in New York City. Now say what you want about Bobbly Flay, and celebrity chefs, in general, but this was easily one of the best meals we have had in our lives. And we have eaten at some pretty darn good restaurants. I am not comparing this to my local diner (not that there is anything wrong with the diner. Mmmm, pancakes!) It was an incredible night. The Hubby is not easily surprised, as he is so tuned into everything, that he always can pick up on whether something is going on. But he was truly shocked. The company was great, and the food was outstanding. And, crazy enough, one of the dishes that stands out the most in our memories was a corn side dish. So I HAD to recreate it, and have been making it every summer ever since. And we affectionately refer to it as “Bobby Flay Corn”. Now I am sure he didn’t originate the idea, and he probably didn’t even make it for us that night. But whatever. This is my homage to the Iron Chef.
Now, I am not going to say that my version is anywhere near as awesome as the one we had at Mesa Grill. But it is darn good. A little sweet, a little salty, a little crunch, a little creaminess, a little smoky, a little spicy, all brought together by a little zing from the lime juice. And you can prepare it in advance, and just heat it through before serving in the over or over the grill, based on whatever else you are cooking.
Obviously it is great with good, fresh corn, but I’ll make it to use up any leftover cooked or uncooked corn. It is so flavorful that the best quality corn is not a requirement (though it certainly tastes good). I alternate between a little butter or a little olive oil. I also use feta cheese. I am fairly certain that it is “supposed” to be cotija, but that is harder to find, and more expensive. Feta gives the same crumbly, salty cheesiness it needs. Mmmm!
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- 4-5 ears corn (depending on the size), shucked
- 1 Tablespoon butter and/or olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese
- If your corn is uncooked, place over a medium-high grill for 8-12 minutes, or until slightly charred. You can also use leftover cooked corn, or just boil it, but the corn charred on the grill give it some more smoky flavor.
- Cut the kernels from the corn and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the feta, and toss to combine well.
- Add the feta and toss gently.
- Place in a ceramic or glass baking dish or individual ramekins.
- Heat the corn through to slightly melt the cheese over the grill or in the oven (this can be done either way, or at any temperature, based on what else you are cooking).
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