The first tamales I ever had were from a Bobby Flay recipe and they were made with fresh corn - delicious! Nearly every tamale recipe I have found since uses instant masa flour, which I personally don't find to be as flavorful as the ones made with fresh corn (perhaps I just haven't found the right recipe).
There are a few small adaptations I have made to Flay's Basic Tamales: using shallots instead of onions to give them a more subtle, if not slightly garlicky note; a bit of cayenne for heat; and instead of using lard or shortening, I used heavy cream. I found adding cream brings out a nice creamy sweetness.
I topped the masa with miso butter, my own recipe of garlicky citrus-soy shrimp, and garnished with cilantro - giving these tamales layers and layers of flavor. —Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom
dried corn husks
corn, fresh (preferred) or frozen
large shallots, quartered
1 1/2 cups
unsalted butter, roughly chopped into pea-size pieces
1 1/2 cups
ground cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
unsalted butter, softened
Shiro miso (white miso)
1 1/2 pounds
shrimp, 41/50 count (medium), peeled and cleaned
Fill a large bowl with water and add the husks, weighing them down with a plate. Soak for 2 hours or until softened.
In a food processor, puree the corn, shallots, and chicken stock. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the cream, butter, cornmeal, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, breaking up the butter with your hands if needed. The mixture will be loose - but don't worry, it will dry out when steamed.
Remove the husks from the water bath, drain and pat dry. Set aside the best 24 husks (they should be large and free of holes) Tear the remaining husks into 1-inch strips - these will be used to tie the tamales.
Take two husks of similar size and lay them on your work surface with the widest parts overlapping approximately 3 inches. Place 1/3 cup of the masa mixture in the center. Fold the long sides of the husks overtop of the masa so that they are overlapping. Tie each end with a strip of husk and then trim the ends 1/2 an inch past the knot. If some of the masa drips out, don't worry - it will firm up when steamed.
In a steaming pot, arrange the tamales so that they are standing up vertically. Start by placing them around the edge of the pot and then work your way toward the center - you don't want them packed tightly, but it is ok if there is a lot of space remaining in the pot. (If you do not have a steamer pot, checkout Food52, How to Hack a Steamer). Cover tightly with a lid and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes.
While the tamales are cooking, make the Miso Butter. Simply add the miso to the softened butter, stir well to incorporate, and refrigerate until ready to use.
About 20 minutes before the tamales are done, start working on the shrimp. Combine the orange juice, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, soy sauce, and sriracha in a mixing bowl. Add the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the pan. Tossing frequently, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just cooked through.
To serve, open up the husk to expose the masa mixture. Add a pat of miso butter, several shrimp, and top with cilantro. Enjoy!