Creamy, refreshing, and cool, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is a great addition to any summertime meal. With lots of zest and spice, you’re sure to hear a lot of yums!
Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always loved corn more than any other vegetable. Most of the corn that we ate growing up came from a can. Fresh corn was not something that was readily available in Newfoundland out ports back in the 70s and 80s.
I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember seeing frozen bagged corn or fresh corn on the cob as a child. My mother always purchased corn in cans.
There was the regular canned kernel corn that also came in a peaches and cream variety. There was also the canned creamed corn. And, on occasion, there was a canned corn that had red and green peppers in it too. Oh, and of course, there was the canned corn on the cob.
Yes, Dear Reader, canned corn on the cob. In my adult years, I have only ever seen canned corn on the cob when I visited Newfoundland in 2014. We were doing a little grocery shopping and I saw those unmistakably familiar gigantic cans. I took a picture and I uploaded it to Facebook to share with my non-Newfoundland friends. I still have that photo. Here it is!
I loved that stuff! I think there was five in a can and it was the perfect amount for our family of five. We all got one each, but I always wished there was more!
USE CANNED CORN FOR THIS RECIPE
As much as I love the taste of fresh corn, I’m sticking to my roots and using canned corn for this recipe. Don’t be ashamed of using canned corn. I know so many foodie snobs who put down food that comes in a can. Well, I’m not one of them.
I was raised on canned foods. In many instances, if my parents refused to buy canned foods, our meals would have been rather bleak. In the cold and vicious winters of rural Newfoundland towns, canned food is a staple that helps residents get through those long winter months.
Besides, argue as much as you will, canned corn has a very distinct flavour. I love the flavour, to be honest! But, I’ve never been able to recreate it. If you are a purist, and you simply cannot used canned corn, you go ahead and use fresh. But, be fair warned; the end result will not taste as good!
AUTHENTIC MEXICAN STREET CORN VS HOMEMADE
If you’ve ever eaten authentic Mexican street corn, it will no doubt have been sprinkled with cotija cheese. It is a dry grating cheese made with cow’s milk and is similar to parmesan.
In other parts of the world, you may find a fresher, softer version, similar to feta cheese. But, in Mexico, this salty cheese is typically aged for at least 100 days. Cotija is named after the Mexican city of Cotija, Michoacán.
It’s not easy to find in my neck of the woods. So, whenever I recreate a dish that requires cotija, I always use a dry, crumbled feta. It is a great substitute for cotija and will cost a fraction of the price.
Cheese shops may carry cotija. There used to be a wonderful cheese shop in Toronto that John.e and I would frequent from time to time. They’re recently closed their doors so I’ll have to start the hunt for cotija all over again.
Authentic Mexican street corn will most likely use cilantro too. Since I would rather starve then eat cilantro, my version uses parsley. You can substitute cilantro for the parsley if you wish.
FULL FAT VS SKINNY
This particular pasta salad was prepared using full fat ingredients. I find that full fat mayonnaise and sour cream is a little creamier and richer than non-fat. If you disagree, you can certainly use low fat or non-fat versions.
In fact, Dear Reader, I have prepared this same pasta salad before with only sour cream. Sour cream – especially the 1% – is much more calorie friendly in comparison to low fat mayonnaise. If you use low fat or non-fat versions of anything, please taste the pasta salad for seasoning before serving. Full fat items usually have more salt.
Finally, the best way to enjoy this pasta salad is cooled. I like to refrigerate the pasta salad for one hour before serving. That way, it’s cooled, but not cold. When you remove it from the fridge, toss it again and it’s ready to go!
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- 450 grams pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
- 2 cups canned corn, drained
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, chili powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and lime juice.
- Add the pasta, corn, parsley, and lime zest. Toss to coat.
- Next, add 3/4 cup of the feta. Gently toss into the pasta mixture.
- Transfer to serving dish. Top with remaining feta and more parsley.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.