Easy Cheesey Corn and Shrimp Tamales

By • August 16, 2010 • 23 Comments



Author Notes: I've made the components of this dish so many different ways over the last few years and this is my latest version for an appetizer. I've skipped the traditional tamale-making step of the masa and lard, and opted to use fresh corn husks as a simple package for steaming a mixture of corn, Cojita and Monterey Jack cheeses, lime juice, cilantro and macerated red onion layered with roasted poblano pepper strips and topped with shrimp. The packages are wrapped, tied, and steamed until the shrimp is cooked and the cheeses melt. I've done this exact recipe using the roasted poblano pepper as a shell for the corn mixture, topped with shrimp or with the roasted pepper diced up and mixed into the corn mixture with the shrimp for a entree. All have been successful and what I've loved about this dish is the flexibility it offers for presentation and for heat. If you want to eliminate the poblano, no problem. There's still enough yummy things happening here. The packages can be made in advance, refrigerated and steamed 20 minutes before dinner is served. I've loaded different pictures showing the packages.TheWimpyVegetarian

Serves 6 tamales for a first course or side dish

  • 1 ounce red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 ears of corn, husks still completely intact
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, skins and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 ounce grated Cojita cheese
  • 1 1/2 ounce grated Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for topping on the shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails still attached
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Macerate the red onion in enough red wine vinegar to cover the onion for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Carefully husk both ears of corn, keeping each husk intact. Set aside. Remove the corn silk for one ear of corn and cut off the kernels. Make sure you get as much of the kernels and corn milk as possible. Wrap the other ear of corn for another use. Rinse and dry the husks.
  3. Combine the corn kernels, cheeses, butter, cilantro and lime juice in a food processor and chop for about 30 seconds until fairly well chopped. Place in a bowl and add the macerated red onion, discarding the red wine vinegar.
  4. Identify a couple of the longest husks and tear into strips. These are your ties to tie the packages. Take a large husk and lay it on a work space. You can also use 2 husks and slightly overlap them. Place 2 spoonfuls of the corn mixture in the middle of the husk(s). Place poblano pepper strip on top. Place a shimp on top of the pepper strips and top with a few gratings of Jack cheese. Now you're ready to wrap your package.
  5. Fold over the sides first, being careful not to wrap the package too tightly. Fold up the bottom and while holding that in place, fold down the tips. Slide a tie under the package, wrap it around the sides of the package and tie a knot. It may take a few to get the hang of it. If they're too tight, when you fold down the top, the corn mixture can squeeze out. It better to err on the side of having a smaller amount of corn mixture and a looser package than the opposite. Trust me on this.
  6. Place horizontally in a steam basket over boiling water; it's ok to stack them if you're making a lot. Steam for 15-20 minutes until the shrimp are done and the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve warm on a large serving plate for a side dish or on individual appetizer plates as a first course. Enjoy!!
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Comments (23) Questions (1)

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Steve_dunn02

about 3 years ago Oui, Chef

I have never made tamales of any sort and now I know why, I've been waiting for this FAB recipe to start me off on the right foot, thanks Suzanne! - S

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks Steve! I took a week-long class last summer in Albuquerque with one whole day spent making different kinds of tamales. They were my first ones and I found them to be much easier than expected. The biggest tip was to not overfill them!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Beautiful with the fresh corn husks.

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks boulangere!! They're easier to work with too :-)

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I don't doubt that - very clever of you.

Buddhacat

about 3 years ago SKK

Love this! Thank you.

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks SKK!! I hope you try them!

Ozoz_profile

about 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

It thrills me to no end to see that its not only Nigerian recipes which require folding corn husks or banana leaves. I love the flavours - the shrimps baked and sauced by the chilli corn mix - love it

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much KB!! Once I get the first couple under my belt, they go pretty fast. But it's a fun way to steam something, and such a fun presentation.

Veronica_culver_headshot

about 4 years ago The Enchanted Cook

Beautiful presentation and sounds yummy, too!

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks, Enchanted Cook!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 4 years ago lapadia

Love these and the picture, we have often filled our peppers as you have described...it's all delicious!

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks lapadia! I made this recipe by stuffing the peppers for a dinner last summer at a friends home in Santa Fe and everyone really loved them. The best part was folks not wanting too much spice, just ate all the filling and left the pepper. Lots of flexibility with this recipe.

Hib_kitchen

about 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

This looks great! Love me some tamales!

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks MyCommunal Table!

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about 4 years ago dymnyno

They look and sound beautiful!! Are these inspired by your New Mexico trip? I like that your ingredients are a concentration of interesting flavors...sometimes I get lost in the blandness of the masa.

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks dymnyno!! And yes, these were definitely inspired by the trip. I agree with you on the masa. I haven't been happy with the blandness, as you say, and haven't like the amount of lard (or butter) that more traditional recipes call for. And it adds an additional layer of complexity when making these little guys that I chose to eliminate.

Newliztoqueicon-2

about 4 years ago Lizthechef

Looks beautiful. Love using fresh corn husks! Tamales can be daunting but your recipe makes me believe it is a "can do".

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

These are really easy since I've simplified the tamale. I agree that the more traditional ones can be daunting!! You also don't need a special steamer for these to hold the tamales upright since these should be steamed horizontal in the steamer and can be stacked. If you have trouble initially with the ties, just tie 2 together and then wrap the package. Where they're tied together will be on the bottom of the presentation anyway. Hope you try them!

Dsc_0675-x2a

about 4 years ago Sagegreen

Exciting!

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks sagegreen! I love your corn recipes this week!!

52

about 4 years ago pauljoseph

Fabulous. impressive recipe.

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much pauljoseph! Hope you try them. They're really tastey.