For a short time, I lived in a rather unsavory section of Santa Ana, California. While the gang activity of the area made it an unsavory place to live, the ethnically divided street made it very savory street to live on, culinarily speaking. One half the of the block was Mexican immigrants and the other half was Cambodian immigrants. I was living on the Cambodian side with friends and Kha, the younger brother of a friend, asked me if I wanted a ‘corn from the truck.’ I said sure and off he went. A short while later he came back with an ear of corn wrapped in foil on a stick. I was expecting an ear of corn with butter and maybe salt and pepper. That’s not what I got. I asked him what this was and he just said “Mexican corn.” He was Cambodian and 6 years old, so forgive his non-PC terminology. I looked at this white-red speckled ear of corn with great scorn and speculation.Kha was going to town on this ear of corn so I decided if he could eat this, so could I. I’m so glad I followed his example. It was by far the most delicious thing I have ever had to that point in my life as far as corn goes. I am certain I had “Mexican corn” almost daily until I moved out that place.
For years I wanted to know what was on that corn. I craved the flavors. I had asked the food truck vendors but neither operator would tell me. Rude!
Flash forward 17 years. I’m living in Logan, UT. I’m at the county fair. Food vendors galore. I see this fresh corn vendor and that sounded good. I got in line. While I was in line I saw this young Hispanic boy, maybe 10, dressing his corn at the condiment section of the vendor booth. This kid slathered mayonnaise all over his corn, then parmesan cheese, and finally sprinkled chili powder all over it. He passed by me and I was able to look at the corn. It looked almost exactly like the corn from the food truck all those years ago. It never occurred to me that mayonnaise and parmesan cheese was on the food truck corn. After buying my corn, I dressed it the same way as I had seen the boy do it. That first bite transported me back to a different time and place.
During the summer when fresh corn is aplenty, I will often eat my corn this way. My daughter loves it too. I have shared it with many friends who now enjoy it as well. After a bounteous gathering at the farmer’s market one Saturday, I took some of my fresh veggies and created a side dish to rival these flavors. I added bell peppers, onions, and carrots to my fresh (or frozen, depending on the time of year) corn and add the mayo, parmesan cheese, chili powder. It is a favorite of family and friends now. They call it “that corn dish” and since I am sharing it with you all, I guess it needed a name. So I present to you “Fiesta Corn.” Enjoy
- 4 ears of corn , kernels removed OR 3 cups frozen corn
- 2 medium bell peppers; diced
- 1/2 onion; diced
- 1 carrot; diced or about 8-10 baby carrots diced
- Salt/pepper/olive oil/small knob of butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp +/- chili powder
- 1/8 cup +/- mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Remove corn husks, de-silk, and slice the kernels off the ears, blanche them in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Drain.
In a pan heat up olive oil and 1/4 tbsp butter on high, add onion, bell peppers, and carrots, 2 minutes stirring constantly.
(If using frozen corn, at it at this point, still frozen.)
Reduce heat to medium high and continue to cook for 5 more minutes or until the veggies have soften.
Add salt and pepper.
Add fresh corn. Mix well.
Add chili powder-to your liking. Remove from heat.
Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Let cool for about 2 minutes.
Add mayo and parmesan cheese. Mix well.
This dish tastes great either at room temp, slightly warm, or cold fresh out of the fridge. It's completely your call on how you'd like to serve it.
I make this dish often enough and I continually take pictures of it and I never like them. But these are better than the originals, so I decided to update them. Give me a few more months, I will do it again. Hopefully then it isn’t raining.