Warm Hominy Salad with Peas, Carrots, and Cilantro and Ecuadorian Hot Sauce (Jose Garces)

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Jose Garces lists this as one of his favorite recipes. This is what he has to say:

When my mom makes this dish in the springtime, she uses fresh garbanzo and fava beans as well as the English peas. If you spy either or both of these at your local farm[er’s] market or Latin grocery, snap them up and add them to the mix: shucking, blanching, and peeling them is a bit of a hassle, but they are fine things (cosas finas), for sure. English peas are often available in supermarkets year-rough; note that when peas are in season, the pea pods tend to produce more per pod and the peas themselves are often larger, so you may not need to buy the full two pounds called for to end up with cups of shelled peas. Also, the size of the peas themselves will be larger when they’re in season. Canned hominy is stocked in [some] supermarkets.

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Long Island Country Samp (Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey)

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John White watercolor of an Algonquin man and woman eating a meal, titled, “Man and Woman Eating.”

While samp is another name for hominy, it also denotes a regional take on the dish. If hominy is associated with the South, then samp is associated with New England. Surprisingly enough, both names originate from the Algonquin language. Just how “nixtamalization” is a Spanish interpretation of a Nahuatl word, “samp” and “hominy” are English interpretations of Algonquin words.

This recipe comes from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, originally published in the New York Times.
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Where to Buy Dried Hominy

Hominy, by Joel Penkman. Commissioned for the book Taste of America, and for sale on Etsy.

Hominy, by Joel Penkman. Commissioned for the book Taste of America by Phaidon.

Before embarking on your own culinary hominy adventure, you first need to find dried hominy. Of course, you can always grow it yourself, but that requires months of planning which you may or may not have already done.

In case you haven’t grown your own, here are some of the places I’ve had the most success finding dried hominy (in order of personal preference): Continue reading

Eastern Woodland Hominy Stew (with Bitter Greens and Sausage)

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.

This is a recipe my husband and I devised. The idea was to construct a flavor profile that tasted like the South–not the deep-fried South we’re all familiar with, but the deep woods South. The ingredients are similar to those native to the area–bitter greens, onions and garlic (similar to wild garlic and ramps), mushrooms, and of course, hominy. The first pot we made of this stew was huge, and fed us for about a week!

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How to Make Your Own Woodash Lye

Four quarts of homemade lye made from hickory and water oak ash (separately).

Four quarts of homemade lye made from hickory and water oak ash (separately).

A note of caution: lye is caustic, and though the first batch of woodash lye you make will not be as strong as commercial lye, it should still be respected and handled with extreme care. Properly label your materials, wear rubber gloves when handling, and always keep out of the reach of children and your pets! And if you get any one your skin, run that area under cold water until it no longer feels slippery (that slippery feeling is the lye corroding your skin!).

One of the most important ingredients for making traditional hominy is woodash lye. While both commercial lye and pickling lime can be used to remove the hulls and to nixtamalize your kernels, I think they have a subtle yet different flavor from woodash lye. I think maize that has been soaked then cooked in the latter tastes woody–that should come as no real surprise. Using either pickling lime or commercial, food grade lye creates a distinct alkaline taste, but lacks that subtle woody flavor. Continue reading

Green Posole with Cod (from Bon Appetit)

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Image from Bon Appetit.

Posole (or pozole) is a traditional American Southwest and Mexican stew made with whole kernel hominy. After soaking dried maize kernels in an alkaline solution overnight, the kernels are rinsed and rubbed until the pericarp (hull) is removed. In order to simply rub away the hulls, you have to soak the kernels in a pretty strong alkaline solution–if it’s not strong enough, the hulls will not rub off, but if it’s too strong, you’ll lose the germ in the process as well–that’s where a great deal of the nutrition lies. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, calls for a can of white hominy. Juanita’s Mexican-style Hominy works well, and as always, you can also make your own! Continue reading