Just because we can now be inside with people doesn’t mean we have to! This picnic or barbecue friendly dish brings the spicy, salty, and creamy notes of Mexican street corn (elote) to an easy to prep and travel-friendly pasta salad. For more picnic and barbecue friendly dishes, click here.
What is Elote?
A masterclass in how to hit every part of your palate, elote is arguably one of the best ways to showcase summer produce at its finest. Grill peak sumner corn until slightly charred, then slather it with a mayo-crema mixture, lots of smoky chili powder, cilantro, lime zest, and salty cotija cheese. Check out this recipe if you want to try elote at home.
Why crème fraîche?
Crème fraîche is creamier and looser than sour cream and more closely resembles traditional Mexican crema. I opt for crème fraîche in this recipe because it has a better consistency when cold, which is perfect for pasta salad.
This pasta salad should last at least 3 days in the fridge, so it can easily be made in advance. It will be creamiest the first day, before the pasta starts to absorb some of the crème fraîche mixture. You can always add additional crème fraîche or mayo.
Elote Pasta SaladCourse: Mains, SidesCuisine: Mexican, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This picnic or barbecue friendly dish brings the spicy, salty, and creamy notes of Mexican street corn (elote) to an easy to prep and travel-friendly pasta salad.
1 llb short pasta, like rigatoni, pene, or farfalle
4 ears of corn
2 cloves garlic
1-1.5 tbsp chili flakes or powder, preferably a smoked variety.
2-3 limes (you will need both the zest and the juice)
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
8 oz crème fraîche
¼ cup mayo
½ cup crumbled cotija cheese, or more to taste
1 cup chopped cilantro
Lime wedges, for serving
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
- While the water heats, cut the kernels off the corn and mince the garlic.
- Cook the pasta according to the box directions, until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.
- While the pasta cooks, set an oven rack at the highest level (under the broiler) and set the oven to broil.
- Heat a large oven safe pan, like cast iron or stainless steel, over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the corn and garlic and saute, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper At about a minute and a half, add ½-1 tbsp chili flakes.
- Place the corn under the broiler and broil for 1-2 additional minutes.
- Return to the stove top and add the butter and the zest and juice from 1 lime. Stir and remove from heat. Set aside to let cool.
- When the pasta and corn have cooled significantly (they don’t need to be completely cold, but not hot), combine them in a large bowl.
- Add the crème fraîche, mayo, ¼ cup cotija, cilantro, and stir to combine.
- Add the zest of 2 limes, the juice of 1 lime, and an additional ½ tbsp of chili flakes and stir to combine.
- Taste and add salt, pepper, and additional chili flakes as needed.
- When ready to serve, top with an additional ¼ cup of cotija (or more) and lime wedges.
- Crème fraîche is creamier and looser than sour cream and more closely resembles traditional Mexican crema. I opt for crème fraîche in this recipe because it has a better consistency when cold, which is perfect for pasta
- Opt for a smoked chili to replicate the flavor of the grill. Ancho, chipotle, or any smoked chili flakes.
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