Fresh Corn Tamal

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_ (Humita al Plato)_

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SERVES 6

Starchy yellow corn is best for this dish, best approximated in the United States by late-season corn or corn that has been off the stalk for several days. Don't use supersweet varieties like white and bicolor; they'll make the humita taste cloying.

12-15 ears fresh yellow corn, shucked
3 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 ripe tomato , peeled, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 jarred peeled roasted red bell pepper, drained and finely
chopped
1 cup milk
Salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 leaves fresh basil
6 oz. tetilla cheese, rind removed, or monterey jack, cubed

1. Grate corn kernels on the small holes of a box grater over a wide bowl, discarding cobs, and set aside. Melt butter in 3 tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add three-quarters of the onions to skillet and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in corn and milk and season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 35-40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining onions and cook until soft, 5-8 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add canned tomatoes and cook,stirring occasionally, until moisture in sauce has evaporated and sauce just begins to fry, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

3. Stir basil into corn mixture and adjust seasonings. Divide corn mixture between 6 shallow bowls and scatter some cheese on each. Top corn mixture with a spoonful of tomato sauce and garnish each bowl with a cherry tomato and a sprig of fresh basil, if you like.