Corn Salad with Chili Butter, Peppers, and Feta

This simple corn salad is inspired by a dish I ordered from Milo & Olive several weeks back. Similar to my Rosemary-Infused Peperonata, the ingredient list is minimal so that the freshness of summer can shine. Not only is there big flavor, but sautéed corn with chili butter and peppers is super versatile. I've used it as a side, on pizza, and in a breakfast burrito...all in one week. It's that delicious.

When I googled for "corn and chili butter", I came across a Mexican street corn salad called esquites. According to Wikipedia, esquites is the Nahuatl word for "toasted corn". My recipe doesn't have mayonnaise as is common with Mexican street corn but otherwise it's similar. I also found some recipes that suggest boiling the corn before toasting the kernels. I suggest that you skip the boil step since it will result in corn that's overcooked.


As with Blistered Shishito or Padron Peppers, I recommend using a cast-iron pan. A non-stick pan will also work, but be sure to adjust the heat as needed to avoid damaging the coating. In terms of brands, I really like my Lodge Cast-iron Combo Cooker and use it frequently for everything from dinner to baking bread. You can't beat the price of $25-30 for such a versatile piece of kitchen gear. Not sponsored, just a fan.

Corn from Jimenez Family Farm found at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Corn from Jimenez Family Farm - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Farmers | Artisans

I make an effort to source my food from local California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the talented folks who contributed to this dish.

Ingredients (Inspired by Milo and Olive, Serious Eats, and Closet Cooking)

  • 3 ears of corn, kernels removed (yields about 2 cups corn) Note: To avoid making a mess, balance the corn on its end in a large bowl, then run your knife down the corn to remove the kernels.
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • Flake-style salt (to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp lime juice (to taste)
  • 3 peppers, thinly sliced Note: I use a mixture - 1 jalapeno, 1 red shishito, and 1 spicy orange Hungarian. If you're sensitive to heat, I recommend removing the seeds and ribs.
  • Feta


  • In a cast-iron pan, melt the butter over medium-high until foaming. Note: See note about pan under "Tools".
  • Add corn in an even layer, spices, and a pinch of flake-style salt, then cook for 3 minutes undisturbed until starting to char. Note: Turn the pan rather than stirring the corn if the food isn't cooking evenly.
  • Add the peppers, stir, then leave undisturbed for 2 more minutes, stir, then cook for another minute or so.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, then transfer to a dish to cool.
  • Serve warm or just above room temperature with feta. Note: The butter will solidify when cooled for an extended period of time or refrigerated. Gently reheat in a pan or, if rushed, in the microwave.


As a side salad, this recipe is best eaten the same day. Leftovers can be refrigerated overnight in an airtight container. As mentioned above, the butter will solidify so the corn will need to be gently reheated.

Corn salad with chili butter, peppers, and garnished with feta.

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