Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chef Sasha's Corn Tamales with Garlic Shrimp, Strawberry-Avocado Sour Cream and Pickled Red Onion

Miss Kitty wanted pink food, so I made her pink food.

Unfortunately, this dish didn't make it into the final cut of the show but it was absolutely delicious, despite the fact that its hue was the same as the title of my third favorite Molly Ringwald movie (Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles come first, natch).

Corn Tamales with Garlic Shrimp, Strawberry-Avocado Sour Cream and Pickled Red Onion
makes 6 servings

Pickled Red Onion:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh white corn kernels, cut from the cob (approximately 4 ears of corn)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup masa harina
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm water or chicken stock
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
14 dried corn husk, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to soften

Strawberry-Avocado Sour Cream:
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
1 avocado, pitted and smashed
zest and juice of one lime
1 pint sour cream
salt to taste

Garlic Shrimp:
1 lb 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place sliced red onion in a small, non-reactive bowl. Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil and pour over onions. Refrigerate until cool and ready to use.
Fit a large pot with a steaming rack and tight lid. Over medium heat, bring several inches of water to a gentle boil.

In a food processor or high powered blender, puree half of the corn kernels until smooth. In one large bowl, beat the shortening until light and fluffy. In a second bowl, stir together the masa harina, cornmeal, cayenne pepper, salt, cumin and baking powder. Gradually add warm water or chicken stock until a thick dough forms. Add masa mixture to whipped shortening and add pureed corn, remaining whole corn kernels and cheese. Drain the corn husks and pat dry. Tear 2 of the husks lengthwise into 12 longs strips which you’ll use for tying up the tamales. On a flat work surface, arrange the remaining 12 husks in pairs, each one overlapping slightly. Spoon tamale dough into the center of each husk, roll gently and use husk ties to close tamale packages. Place the tamales on the steamer rack over and steam until fluffy and cooked through, 25-30 minutes.

In a small saucepot, combine strawberries and hot sauce and cook until berries are softened and release their juice. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a small bowl, combine avocado, sour cream, lime zest and juice and season with salt to taste. Stir in cooled berries and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add shrimp and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 3 minutes.

To serve, remove tamale from husk and top with 3-4 garlic shrimp, a spoonful of strawberry-avocado sour cream and several rings of pickled onion, either whole or diced.

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