Liven up grilled corn on the cob by slathering each piece with delicious, homemade Mexican-flavored pesto. Made with antioxidant-rich cilantro and pumpkin seeds, the piquant sauce boasts a slightly spicy bite and serves as a perfect addition paired with fish or chicken too!
“Comparing this to a classic Italian pesto, I replace the basil with cilantro, pine nuts with spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil with canola oil, and Parmesan with cotija cheese,” says chef Jeffrey Saad.
8 ears corn, husk peeled and discarded
2 c. cilantro, washed, large stems removed
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. roasted green pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cotija cheese, grated
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 c. green-shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To a small bowl add the pumpkin seeds, canola oil, chile powder, and salt. Mix together well. Spread pumpkin seeds out evenly on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Place in oven. Stir the seeds every few minutes until golden brown, about ten minutes. Set aside until cool. To make the cilantro pesto, in a food processor, add the cilantro, canola oil, roasted green pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese, and garlic. Pulse chop until evenly combined but still slightly chunky. Taste. Usually you do not need salt because of the salt in the roasted pumpkin seeds and cheese. Set aside. In a food processor add the cilantro, canola oil, roasted green pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese, and garlic. Pulse chop until evenly combined but still slightly chunky. Taste. Usually you do not need salt because of the salt in the roasted pumpkin seeds and cheese. Set aside. Peel the corn and place on a hot grill. Turn the corn every two minutes to evenly roast the corn all the way around. It will take about ten minutes. You will see random char marks, which is perfect. Take the corn off the grill and onto a platter. Using a pastry brush or butter knife slather the pesto onto each ear liberally. Roll the corn around to make sure the corn is completely covered. Sprinkle with a little more cotija if you like.
Makes 8 servings.
Recipe provided by Jeffrey Saad, Cooking Channel host of United Tastes of America, restaurateur, chef, and author of Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders