Of all the possible tamale fillings out there, this one is the simplest and most pure. Take a corn husk, stuff it with more corn, and add some Cabot cheddar. I’m basically telling you the instructions that we all followed today. Masa harina, corn flour, is pretty cool stuff. Used for everything from arepas to sopes, dried masa is the cheap trick for making really delicious corn-based fillings and vessels for flavor. Huaraches, memelas, sopes (can’t stop thinking about sopes!), these things are all best if made from freshly ground nixtamalized corn, but we don’t have a 2-ton stone wheel corn grinder- so we make do with the dried stuff. It’s still pretty freaking good. Paired up with some delicious hibiscus pickled red onions, salsa roja, and some spicy field greens from Applefield, the flavors are simple, the execution is pure, and the end result is just simply spot on.
To reheat: One of my favorite things about tamales is how cute they are- little parcels of goodness wrapped up in dried corn leaves. The corn husks impart some toasty corn flavor during the cooking process, and they also act as the perfect wrapper! Kind of like a banana or orange, the corn husk is the tamale’s natural packaging. Love it. Only thing we are reheating tonight are the tamales- the rest of the things in the bowl are ready to go. I’d recommend steaming them to reheat, but obviously that means waiting for water to boil, and setting up a steamer basket- which is kind of an ordeal. Do it if you’d like, and steam for 3-4 minutes, till hot. Alternatively, wrap the tamales in a damp paper towel, and microwave for 2-3 minutes until nice and hot. Unwrap them, cover with salsa roja and pickled onions, dress the greens with some salsa too, and make a big mess of it all! Flavor! Enjoy!
If you got a cumin-rubbed chicken breast:
There’s something so inherently delicious about cumin and chicken. It’s a fantastic combo. The technique here was to rub the chicken in a tasty aromatic spice mix, dry it out a bit, and then slowly roast it to get a nice coating of caramelized spice on there. When you broil these puppies at home, they will bloom and all those flavors will really pop. To reheat, lay out the chicken breasts on a sheet tray lined with aluminum foil, and broil, skin side up, for 6-10 minutes on low until hot and fragrant. Slice them up, and plate them up next to the tamales! Salsa roja encouraged.