"Corn is the number-one ingredient in Mexico and esquites [a street snack of grilled corn] is served on every other corner, so it seemed like a natural choice to have at the restaurant," says Ward. "I also have a special place for it in my heart - while I was in Oaxaca, I was hungry late one night but I wasn't too sure what to trust. I went and stood behind a bunch of cops in a line, as I figured if they were eating it, it must be good - it ended up being esquites."
- 12 large corn cobs (about 300gm-400gm each)
- 60 ml canola oil (¼ cup)
- 2 white onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried or fresh epazote (see note)
- Juice of ½ lime, plus 4 limes cut into cheeks, to serve
- 300 gm whole-egg mayonnaise (1 cup)
- 110 gm queso fresco, crumbled (see note) (1/3 cup)
- 1 cup coriander (loosely packed)
- 2 tsp chilli arbol powder, or to taste (see note)
- 1Preheat a char-grill or barbecue to high heat. Remove all silks from corn, then grill until corn is a deep charred colour (20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool completely (15-20 minutes), then cut kernels from cob and set aside.
- 2Place oil, onion, garlic and epazote in a saucepan over medium heat and fry until onion and garlic are soft but not coloured (5-7 minutes). Add corn kernels, lime juice and 1.6 litres water and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- 3Divide corn mixture among bowls (don’t add too much liquid). Spoon mayonnaise and cheese over and scatter with coriander and chilli powder. Just before serving, squeeze juice of lime cheeks over and mix everything together.
Note Epazote and arbol chilli powder are available from Fireworks Foods and Monterey Mexican Foods. At El Público they make their own queso fresco; it's difficult to find in Australia, but unsalty feta or fresh goat's cheese makes a good substitute.
Drink Suggestion: Cerveza Pacífico Clara. Drink suggestion by Paul Aron