If you cannot find cotija, use queso fresco, ricotta salata, feta, or another crumbly sharp cheese. Most cotija is salty and a little funky; I didn’t need any salt in my sauce below the corn, but with a milder cheese, you probably will.
- 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 medium ears corn, shucked
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 3 ounces (heaped 1/2 cup) crumbled cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 lime, halved
- Tajín seasoning or chile powder
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
Heat a grill to medium-high. Lightly oil grill grates and place corn cobs directly on them. Cook corn until charred in spots all over, turning as often as needed. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly. Don’t have a grill? I have often charred corn directly over the gas flame on my stove (be careful; it will crackle and spatter a little). You oven’s broiler, should it be more robust than mine, might also work for the task.
While you’re grilling your corn, combine sour cream, mayo, and cotija cheese. Spread on the bottom of your serving plate. Cut corn corn from cobs with a sharp knife and heap it over the cheese spread on the platter. Squeeze the juice of half a lime all over, then scatter the corn with pickled onion rings from the fridge. Generously shake Tajín or chile powder all over; if you’re using plain chile powder, season with salt and an extra squeeze of lime, too. Top with cilantro leaves. Cut remaining lime half into wedges and serve alongside. Eat right away — while the dressing is cold and the corn is hot.