Esquites—grilled sweet corn, cut from the cob and tossed with spicy mayonnaise, fresh lime and cotija cheese—is a popular Mexican street food. Here we’re turned it into a warm entree salad combined with spicy sautéed shrimp, peppery arugula and fresh lemon. From start to finish, this can be on the table in less than half an hour.
Grilled Corn and Shrimp Salad
For the corn and shrimp:
- 2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 lb. (500 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) chipotle chiles in adobo, or to taste, pureed
- 1/4 cup (15 g) fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
For the salad:
- 1 lb. (500 g) arugula leaves (about 12 cups)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup (2 to 3 fl. oz./60 to 80 ml) best-quality extra-virgin olive oil2 lemons, halved, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated cotija, queso añejo or pecorino romano cheese
- 3/4 cup (6 1/2 oz./190 g) pico de gallo or seeded and diced plum tomatoes
- 2 whole pickled jalapeño chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips
1. To prepare the corn and shrimp, heat a heavy fry pan over high heat until very hot. Hold the shucked ear of corn upright on a cutting board or in a small bowl and, using a sharp knife, cut off the kernels, keeping the blade angled inward so you get the whole kernel but none of the tough cob. Toss the kernels with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn to the hot pan in one layer and allow it to sear without stirring, then remove from the pan. (Some of the kernels may pop.)
2. Place the same pan over medium heat, add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, and sauté the shrimp, garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Add the chipotle puree and cook and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro and the seared corn. Set aside.
3. While the shrimp is cooking, make the salad. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the olive oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Squeeze the lemon halves over the greens, add the cheese and pico de gallo, and toss again.
4. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Top each with an equal amount of the corn and shrimp mixture, a couple strips of jalapeño and a lemon wedge. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Bring a true taste of Mexico to your table with our mouthwatering collection of down-home dishes in Rustic Mexican, by Deborah Schneider.