Esquites is a fan-favorite Mexican street food: grilled sweet corn, cut from the cob and tossed with spicy mayonnaise, fresh lime, and cotija cheese. This Grilled Corn & Shrimp Salad puts a twist on Esquites, to turn it into a warm entrée salad filled with grilled sweet corn, spicy sautéed shrimp, peppery arugula, and fresh lemon. Start to finish, this can be on the table in less than half an hour, which makes it the perfect meal to get you over the mid-week hump!
FOR THE CORN & SHRIMP
2 ears fresh sweet corn, husks and silks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb (500 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Fine sea salt
¼ cup (50 g) chipotle chiles in adobo (or to taste), puréed
¼ cup (15 g) fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
FOR THE SALAD
1 lb (500 g) wild arugula leaves (about 12 cups), chilled
¼ –1/3 cup (50–75 ml) best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, halved, plus 4 lemon wedges, for serving
½ cup (2 oz/60 g) grated cotija, cotija enchilado, queso añejo, or Romano cheese
¾ cup (61⁄2 oz/190 g) pico de gallo salsa, preferably homemade (page 129), or seeded and diced plum tomatoes
2 whole pickled jalapeño chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips
To prepare the corn and shrimp, heat a heavy frying 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 tablespoon 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 kernels may pop.)
Place the same pan over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sauté the shrimp, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Add the chipotle purée and cook and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro and the seared corn. Set aside.
While the shrimp is cooking, make the salad. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the olive oil and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Squeeze the lemon halves over the greens, add the cheese and pico de gallo, and toss again.
Divide the salad among four plates. Top each with an equal amount of the corn and shrimp mixture, a couple strips of jalapeño, and a lemon wedge. Serve.
For more accessible and authentic Mexican recipes, order you copies of Rustic Mexican today!