As a kid, the only time I saw hominy was during the school-sponsored canned food drives. I guessed that no one else knew what to do with canned hominy, either, which was why it was the first item to be donated. Since then, I’ve gotten much more familiar with hominy, relishing it in everything from Mexican pozole to Southern grits and stews. Turns out it’s much more tasty and versatile than I had thought when I saw heaps of canned hominy lining the school hallway.
Basically, hominy is nixtamalized maize — that is, maize that’s been treated with an alkali compound to break down the maize and make its B vitamins more accessible to humans. Maize, in turn, is giant corn (and also one of Crayola’s base 64 colors, which was all I knew about the term “maize” as a kid). If you’ve never seen giant corn, imagine a big front tooth shaped like a corn kernel, ranging in color from yellow to purple. It’s corn, yes, but it’s so much bigger than a kernel of sweet corn or unpopped popcorn that spilling a few kernels of maize into your palm will make you feel like Alice in Wonderland after she drank the shrinking potion.
Which gets us to this flatbread, which I made with red maize. You could also use well-drained canned hominy to make this flatbread if you don’t have any giant corn on hand. Since maize/hominy is pleasantly bread-like, I opted to use torn-off pieces of the flatbread as a base for the insanely delicious salami (made with grass-fed beef and pastured pork) that I’d gotten from my farmer. A few halved cherry tomatoes from my garden finished everything off perfectly.
Maize Flatbread with Salami & Tomatoes
Cooked maize OR well-drained canned pozole
1 egg white, preferably from pastured hens
1 tsp. sea salt (omit if using canned pre-salted hominy)
Salami wedges/slices, preferably salami made with grass-fed beef and/or pastured pork
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Dried basil for garnish
Crushed red pepper for garnish
To cook the maize, cover the kernels with plenty of water and simmer over low heat with the pot covered for 6 hours or until kernels are bursting, adding more water as necessary to keep those kernels covered. (You could also use a slow cooker/crockpot to do this. It’s much like reconstituting and then cooking dried beans.) Drain well.
Preheat oven to 450F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place 3 cups of drained maize/hominy in a food processor. Add egg and salt (unless using pre-salted hominy) and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too stiff to press out onto the parchment-covered baking sheet, include the yolk as well. If the mixture is too runny, add some masa harina OR corn flour (not starch!) OR cornmeal to the mix, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more by the quarter-cupfuls as needed to achieve a workable consistency.
Press dough out onto baking sheet. Dough should be fairly easy to press down but should not immediately go running to the corners. Bake for 15 minutes.
To serve, rip cooled flatbread into pieces and top with whatever you like. I opted for salami and halved tomatoes sprinkled with a little dried basil and crushed red pepper. Leftover bread can be kept in a breadbox or not-fully-covered tin for up to a week. I like to tear mine up into pieces, line a tin with parchment paper, and store it in the tin with the lid slightly ajar.
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