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Humita

I’m just going to stop even talking about the lapses.  Moving right along…

This was one of my absolute favorite dishes as a kid.  It’s creamed corn, but with the critically important additions of gently sauteed onions and red pepper, paprika and parmesan cheese.  The same term is used for either corn cakes or tamales elsewhere in Latin America (and in some of Argentina’s provinces as well), but what it means in Buenos Aires is this side dish, which can also be used as a great filling for empanadas.

In the off-season it can be made with frozen corn, blitzed briefly in food processor or immersion blender until creamy but not completely liquefied.  If you absolutely must, canned creamed corn is an option — just don’t tell me about it.

Cheesy corn

Humita (Argentine Creamed Corn)
Serves 4-6

6 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, if corn isn’t sweet)
Salt and pepper
1 cup grated parmesan

Grate the corn on the large holes of a box grater, placed inside a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and add the onion with a pinch of salt.  Cook until the onion is wilted but not browning, then add the red pepper and continue cooking until softened. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds more, then add in the corn, sugar if necessary, and a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the corn has just lost its rawness.

Off the heat, stir in the parmesan.  Taste and correct for salt and pepper if necessary, and serve immediately.

Notes: You could leave the cheese out to make this vegan.  If you have really, really good corn, it should come out rich and creamy enough all by itself.

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