The Best Way to Cook Corn Is in the Microwave—and This Zesty, Healthy Elote Proves It

Photo: Getty Images/carlosrojas20
Summer isn't really summer without corn on the cob. The healthy, starchy-sweet vegetable often gets tossed on the grill for optimum char, slathered in butter, and plopped on the table. And while there's no harm in sticking with that original recipe, you can actually microwave (yes, microwave) summer's favorite vegetable into something even tastier.

"Using local products is more important right now than ever before. With corn coming into season, a great and simple recipe that can be done in a microwave is Mexican-style corn, or elote," says Jason Bergeron, executive chef at Tavistock Restaurant Collection in Orlando, Florida. Many farmers markets aren't filling their booths at the moment, but you'll certainly be able to pick up corn from your local CSA or small grocery store. And when you do, you're going to want to stock up just so you can eat this recipe.

With every bite of Chef Bereon's dish, you'll be reaping the dense nutrient profile of corn: “In about half a cup of corn, you get 4 grams of protein [out of a recommended 50 to 75 grams a day], 2 grams of unsaturated fat, and 2.4 grams of fiber [out of the recommended 25 grams a day],” registered dietitian Kim Melton, RD, previously told Well+Good. You'll also get trace amounts of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, potassium, and B vitamins. Those kernels pack a lot of nutrition and flavor—even if you're just nuking them. Don't believe me? Try Dr. Bereon's recipe for yourself.

Chef Jason Bereon's healthy Mexican-style microwave corn recipe

6 ears of farm-fresh corn
1 tsp of Tajín (lime/citrus seasoning, can be found in the Mexican section of the market) or Trader Joe's chili-lime seasoning
2 Tbsp of almond-based sour cream or regular sour cream
2 Tbsp of crumbled cotija cheese
2 tsp of fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime cut into wedges

1. A cool “chef trick” is peel your corn, take a shallow baking dish and place a folded kitchen towel inside, stand the corn up the long way, hold the top steady, and cut down along the cob to easily remove the corn kernels. They will fall into the baking dish. Do this for all six ears then remove the towel, break up to corn, and remove any corn silk you may have missed from shucking.

2. Place all of the corn into a one-gallon zip-lock bag, add 2 tablespoons of water, seal the bag and push out the air at the same time.

3. Place the bag into the microwave on top of a paper towel, cook for four minutes on high, let stand in the microwave for five minutes before moving on.

4. Carefully remove the bag and cautiously open it as steam may come out, pour the corn into a serving dish, drizzle with sour cream, top with cotija, cilantro, and Tajín, evenly sprinkling the ingredients over the top of the corn.

5. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

To mix up the style of cuisine of your microwave corn, follow steps one through four and add spices of your choosing. For a spicier take, combine chili powder and cumin. To go Italian, smear the corn with butter and sage. For a sweeter take, add cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chef Jason Bereon. 

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