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Toasted Mexican Corn with Crema, Ground Chile and Queso Fresco (Esquite Tostado con Crema e Queso)

Closely adapted from Gonzalo Guzmán; Guzmán calls for serving with pico de gallo, which we made, but honestly none of us felt the corn needed it. 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • 3 ears corn, kernels sliced from husk
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t ground smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground ancho chile powder
  • 1 t Guajillo chile powder or Urfa chile powder (use extra of the preceding 2 chile powders if you cannot find one of these; Guajillo is a Mexican chile pepper and Urfa is Middle Eastern)
  • cayenne pepper, optional, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema (whisk 1-2 T cream or half and half into American sour cream for a sub)
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco (feta is a good sub, although tangier)
  • 1 additional lime, cut into slices for serving
  • 1-2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 T chopped green onions, green parts only


  1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the corn kernels and let them toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Be aware they could jump a bit. You want them lightly charred in places but not burnt.

  2. Add the salt and lime juice and stir when the kernels are evenly lightly toasted. Taste for more salt or lime juice (remember that diners will also have lime wedges so err on side of caution although I love a lot of lime).

  3. Whisk together the spices.

  4. Place the corn into a serving dish or individual bowls. Dollop the crema over the corn and then sprinkle with queso fresco. 

  5. Sprinkle with the spice mixture.

  6. Serve garnished with lime wedges, chopped cilantro and chopped green onions.