Green Corn Tamales with Salsa
Tamales are a traditional Christmas food in the Southwest. In this recipe they are made with fresh corn, so their texture and flavor are light. These would make a dramatic centerpiece on a Southwestern table any time of year. Frozen corn may be used, estimating that the 10 ears of fresh corn would yield 4 to 5 cups of kernels. Allow frozen corn to defrost and break it up slightly in a food processor; wrap the dish in dried corn husks soaked overnight if you choose this option. This dish will serve 6 as an appetizer, or 4 for supper.
- Fresh Corn - 10 ears
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- White Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon, ground
- Baking Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup
- Hominy Grits - 1/2 cup
- Tomatoes - 3 ripe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- Yellow Onion - 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
- Jalapeno Chilies - 1 to 2, peeled, seeded, deribbed, and minced
- Cilantro - 1 bunch, stemmed and chopped
- Lime Juice - 1 tablespoon, fresh
- Salt to taste
- Sour Cream - 1-1/2 cups
To make the tamales: Remove the husks from the corn by trimming the stem ends off the cobs. Be careful not to tear the husks. Drop the husks into boiling water and simmer 10 minutes to soften. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Run a knife between the rows of corn, then, using the back side of the knife, scrape the corn off the cobs. In a saute pan or skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the kernels, and cook the corn gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so the mixture does not burn. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Remove the husks from the water with tongs and drain on paper towels. Make ties for the tamales by cutting narrow strips from a few of the corn husks. Place a few tablespoons of the filling in the center of each of 12 large husks, folding the ends, then the sides over to create a packet. Tie each packet with one or two prepared strips; do not tie too tightly, as the packet expands as it cooks. In a pot fitted with a rack, make a bed with the remaining corn husks. Add the tamales and steam over medium heat (simmering water) for 1 hour; occasionally check the level of the water so that it does not cook dry. Remove from the steamer and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
To make the salsa: Combine all ingredients and allow the flavors to mingle for 1 hour (do this while the tamales are cooking).
To serve: Place 2 tamales on each plate. Put the salsa and sour cream in small individual ramekins and place one salsa and one sour cream ramekin on each plate.