To remove the individual kernels from the cobb, get both a large mixing bowl and smaller bowl (about cereal bowl size) out. Place the smaller bowl face down inside the mixing bowl. The mixing bowl should be large enough so that there is some room on the sides when you place the smaller bowl in. After cleaning and removing husks from the corn, place it upright on the base of the small bowl and use a chef knife to cut downward, removing the kernels off of the core. The mixing bowl is there to catch the kernels as you cut them off and this process makes for a much cleaner working space (yay!).
Pour 1 tbsp. oil of your choice (a neutral flavoured oil with high smoke point like grapeseed is recommended) into a wok over high heat. Once the oil has been heated, begin toasting the corn kernels. Toss around to coat corn with oil and then then it sit untouched for 5 minutes or until the bottom side is browned nicely. Toss to coat the other side and let sit again. You’ll notice that the corn will begin to pop. Literally. Like popcorn. And if it does starting popping, then pat on the back, you’re doing it right! Watch out though – those suckers will get you in the face if you’re not careful. Once your corn is nicely charred, turn the heat off and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Alternatively, you can do all this in a sauté pan if you don’t have a wok on hand.
Mix ingredients while corn is warm.
While the corn is still warm and toasty from the wok action, combine with mayonnaise, crumbled cotija, chopped scallion, chopped cilantro, diced jalapeño, red onion, garlic, a pinch of chili, and lime juice. Mix all ingredients together until well incorporated. The mayonnaise and cotija are already salty, so start with 1 tsp. kosher salt and salt to taste. Watch out for over-mixing, which will cause the cotija to start disintegrating. All this needs is a simple light toss.
Garnish and serve (warm or cold).
Garnish your dish with more chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve either immediately as a warm salad, or place in the refrigerator for later and serve cold. Congrats! You just made esquites.