Sautéed Hominy with Pico de Gallo and Oregano

Serves 4 to 6

This recipe can be found in my new memoir, Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef.

This is a hearty, rich side dish, and is a great way to use leftover pico de gallo. I originally developed this at Centrico, where I served it with a roasted half chicken. But with its oregano flavor, and its simplicity and versatility, it can go with just about anything.
For this recipe, look for canned hominy, which is very easy to find. You want the whole, big kernels; “dry hominy” is split into smaller pieces and doesn’t cook the same way. Just be sure to wash it well after draining the solution in the can.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 heaping cups drained hominy (from about three 15-ounce/440 g cans)

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped, divided

  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, grated or minced

  • ½ cup (20 g) fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, divided

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 strips bacon, diced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the hominy well, spread it in a single layer, and blot dry.

  2. Make the pico de gallo: In a mixing bowl, combine half of the onion with the tomatoes, green onions, pepper, cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon of the dried oregano, and salt.

  3. Make the hominy: In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels. When the butter stops bubbling, add the bacon and let it render its fat, stirring only occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes. When it gets crispy, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the lined plate, leaving the fat behind.

  4. To the pan add the reserved onion and remaining 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Sauté these for about 5 minutes, until the onion is golden and soft. Stir in the fresh oregano and garlic and cook for about a minute before folding in the hominy. Cook for another minute or two, until the hominy browns lightly along the edges, then add the bacon.

  5. With a slotted spoon, scoop all but ½ cup (120 g) of the pico de gallo into the pan, allowing excess juice to drain into the bowl. Adjust the heat to medium-high for a minute or two, until the juice reduces. Serve warm, garnished with the remaining pico de gallo and sliced green onions.

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