Say Cheese! Corn and Cotija Salad

Cotija (pronounced co-tee-ha) is an aged, hard cow's milk cheese native to Mexico. It has a strong, salty flavor and firm quality that's ideal for grating or crumbling. Cotija is packaged and sold in blocks (or rounds) and sometimes comes pregrated. On the tongue, cotija is dry and grainy, thus it's employed to add texture to traditional Mexican dishes. To find out how I used it in this snappy corn salad,


Cotija isn't much of a melting cheese, but the small shards stick to the corn kernels and provide a rich salty creaminess to this salad. Ancho chili powder packs a spicy punch, while lime juice gives a zesty tartness to the recipe. It's an excellent side to grilled steak and for a scrumptious and substantial lunch, serve over greens with avocado.

Corn and Cotija Salad

Corn and Cotija Salad


  1. 8 ears fresh corn, silks removed, husk on, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
  2. Canola oil
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  5. 2 limes, juiced and 1 zested
  6. 1 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  7. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  8. 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese


  1. Heat grill to high. Grill corn until charred on all sides, 10 or so minutes.* Take off the grill and remove the kernels with a sharp knife.
  2. While you are cutting the corn, put a cast iron skillet on the grill to heat.
  3. Add the corn and the remaining ingredients to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy and heated through.

Serves 8.

*When I made this dish, instead of grilling it, I opted to roast the corn in the oven at 450°F for 30 minutes.

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