Pomelo executive chef Javier Perez has fond memories of eating elote – sweet corn on the cob, grilled and slathered with mayonnaise and cotija cheese – as a kid growing up in Phoenix. So when creating the menu for Pomelo, he summoned his inner child and brought the popular Mexican street food ($5) to the table.
Rather than dousing fresh corn in the humble mayonnaise of his youth, Perez serves the tender ears with a spicy aioli fired up with cayenne and chipotle, morsels of crumbled feta cheese and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and parsley with a couple of lime wedges on the side. Since it’s billed as an appetizer, Perez cuts the cob in half for easy sharing.
The secret to bringing out the corn’s natural sweetness is to blanch the raw corn – cob and all – in hot milk, Perez says. Next, he throws the ears in the smoker and then finishes them on Pomelo’s wood-fire grill stoked with pecan and mesquite. The multi-step process produces a juicy and charred ear of corn with firm kernels that pop with sweet and smoky notes. Top it off with a squirt of fresh lime juice to add another layer of flavor.
Of course, there’s no graceful way to eat an ear of corn, so just dig in and enjoy like you did as a kid. You can worry about your manners later.
— Marilyn Hawkes
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