Perch tamales

By Spencer Watts
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Garlic oil:

  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) coarsely-chopped garlic


  • 12 large, unbroken dried corn husks
  • 4 red sea perch fillets, about ¼ lb (113 g) each
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Corn salsa:

  • 8 cobs of corn, grilled, kernels removed or (15 oz.) can yellow corn or fresh, drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4-6 large tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 5 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoons (15 milliliters) minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) lime juice
  • 1 (445 milliliters) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) olive oil,
  • 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro


  1. Make the garlic oil.  Blend the oil and garlic and let stand overnight.  You if you short on time you can also place the peeled cloves of garlic from a full bulb into a pot, cover with olive oil and simmer over medium – low heat for 10-15 minutes until garlic starts to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F /165C.
  3. Soften husks in a pot of boiling water for four minutes. Remove husks to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and cool down.
  4. Sprinkle perch with one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the garlic oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cut perch into 2×2 inch pieces.
  5. Lay husks on a flat surface and place a piece of perch in the centre of each husk. Wrap the husk over the perch so it is completely enclosed. If necessary, use two husks, ends overlapping. Hold husk wrapper in place by tying with a long, thin strip of leftover husk, or use string.
  6. Place the wrapped perch packages onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for ten minutes.
  7. While they cook, prepare the salsa.
  8. Stir together the corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, red onion, bell pepper, garlic, lime juice, and oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper as desired.
  9. Remove perch packages from oven and open up. Spoon corn salsa on top of perch, and serve.


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