Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fresh Corn Tamales with Basil and Cilantro (Humitas)

Summer's here, folks.  From my brief experience, it seems like Rhode Island has had more than its usual share of 90-degree-plus days.  The upside is that our farmer's markets are overflowing with delicious fresh vegetables and fruits.  Today it was hard not to buy more than I could carry.
These tamales are made of fresh corn kernels pureed with basil, cilantro, white corn meal, baking powder, sugar, salt, and onions sauteed in butter.  The batter is then cooked for a few minutes in the same pan as the onions, tied up in corn husks, and steamed for 45 minutes.
The raw salsa is made of cilantro, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt all pureed together.  It adds a burst of freshness to the creamy polenta-like base.  If I were to make these again, I think I'd cook the tamales longer as the recipe suggested.  I didn't want to over-kill the fresh corn and herby flavors, but as it was they were a little on the doughy side. I'd also add some chiles (again, as the recipe suggested), which I didn't have on hand today.  They'd really benefit from a spicy kick.

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