Monday, September 3, 2012

Ignorant American Fusion: Curry-Parmesan “Mexican Street Corn”

Welcome to a special Labor Day installment of Ignorant American Fusion: the school of cooking in which we ’Merickans attempt to emulate/reinvent/mash-up an “ethnic” dish with utter disregard for cultural authenticity.

Today’s recipe features one of the ultimate late-summer (and yes, it is still technically summer!) foods: corn on the cob. And it was not invented by me, gentle reader, but by The Rob’s brother. And it is as delicious as it is culturally inauthentic.

Now, you may or may not be familiar with the everyday delicacy that is Mexican street corn: It’s a grilled ear of corn that has been slathered in crema (a.k.a. Mexican sour cream), coated with paprika and crumbly cotija cheese, and spritzed with the juice of a lime wedge. (I believe a sprinkling of cilantro is sometimes involved.)

So apparently, The Rob’s brother once tried Mexican street corn, loved it, and attempted to re-create it. Only his version used mayonnaise, curry powder (of the turmeric-based variety), and grated Parmesan cheese. I’m actually not sure whether he did the lime spritz, but I’m thinking that lemon juice might work well with this combo of flavors.

And believe you me, gentle reader, this is an excellent combo of flavors indeed—regardless of how little it may resemble the treat that inspired it. (Personally I find that Parmesan, though it is so intrinsically linked to Italian cooking, can incorporate quite nicely into cuisines of diverse origins—probably because it gives a dish a nice hit of salt, which is pretty much universal and integral to all flavor profiles.) I wouldn’t say that this Italian/Indian-by-way-of-New-York spin is superior to the Mexican original—which in its NYC form is no doubt itself a product of American fusion anyway—but I consider both to be equally yummy options. And with peak corn season in full effect, you’ve got a couple more weeks to try both variations and judge for yourself!

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