Corn on the cob, a coastal summer staple, takes a Latin spin

Intro By Pam George
From the August 2020 issue


At this time of year, no coastal meal is complete without the culinary symbol of summer: corn on the cob. But there’s more than one way to prepare this sweet, crunchy veggie. Just ask Lewes native Ryan Cunningham, the executive chef at The Clubhouse at Baywood in Millsboro.

Cunningham puts a local twist on elote, a popular food sold by Mexican street vendors. You may have spotted the dish on menus in Latin restaurants. But “street corn” has also gone mainstream. Its appearance in American restaurants has increased by more than 110 percent since 2016, according to Datassential, a market research firm.


Traditionally, the corn is grilled and slathered with mayonnaise or sour cream, chili pepper, lime, cilantro and Cotija — a cow’s milk cheese named for the Mexican town where it originated. Cunningham, who started his culinary career at his uncle’s eatery, Anglers Restaurant in Lewes, brings Old Bay to the recipe. Once you get the basics down, feel free to get creative. “You can use any spice you want,” he says. “You can use truffles or your favorite herbs.”

The bold flavor of street corn pairs well with grilled meats. Cunningham who is known for his butchery skills, knows his way around beef and bison.

He’s been known to make dishes showcasing bison tongues and livers. With two teenage sons at home, you’re more likely to see him serve street corn alongside a palate-pleasing rack of ribs.

(Serves 6)

6 ears of local corn
Oil for grilling the corn (select one that can withstand high heat)
½     cup of mayonnaise
Old Bay to taste
¼     cup of Cotija cheese, crumbled (if not available in your usual grocery store, check Latino markets)
Freshly chopped cilantro to taste
6 lime wedges for serving

STEP 1 Shuck the corn and lightly oil it.

STEP 2 Grill the corn for about 10 minutes, turning often, until it’s slightly charred.

STEP 3 Remove the corn from the grill and brush the ears with mayonnaise.

STEP 4 Sprinkle the corn with Old Bay, Cotija and cilantro.

STEP 5 Serve warm with lime wedges.