Popped Hominy Salad with Fresh Corn and Basil Is Summer in a Skillet

Hominy, in my view, is completely underappreciated and misunderstood. It’s mildly sweet and somewhat chewy, with a mellow corn taste. Similar to canned beans, hominy is an inexpensive way to make dishes from soup to sides more substantial and satisfying. If you’re not already cooking with hominy, maybe this summer side will encourage you to grab a can or two.  

Hominy starts with a variety of dried corn — which has a thicker, tougher outer skin than sweet corn — that is soaked in an alkaline solution to remove the hard shell. (This process is called nixtamalization.) During the soaking/cooking process, the corn swells three to four times its size, revealing softened, plump, toothy kernels. In ancient times, this laborious process was done by hand. Today, ready-to-eat hominy is found in the canned goods or international sections at the supermarket for $1 to $1.50 per 15.5-ounce can.

How to Prepare and Cook the Hominy 

Because hominy is already cooked, very little additional cooking is required. I find hominy to be especially delicious — and fun to prepare — when toasted in a cast iron skillet, although it can be used in myriad ways. (You might have had hominy in a delicious bowl of pozole.) This recipe marries skillet-toasted, or “popped,” hominy with fresh corn to augment the corn flavor and uses a simple tangy-sweet dressing to complete the side dish. It’s my nod to old-school, Southern summer cast iron vegetable dishes with modern taste buds in mind. 

To start, make sure the hominy is very well drained. Place it in a colander, then press between several pieces of paper towel or a thick, clean dish cloth to wick away excess moisture. Then get the skillet hot over medium-high heat with the oil. Add the hominy and quickly toss in the oil to fully coat — this helps the hominy slightly caramelize on the edges and pop, giving it more texture and flavor. Keep the lid on the pan; the hominy sputters and jumps just like popcorn.

Slice the tomatoes in half, cut the basil and onion very fine, and mix up the dressing. Stir in the skillet as soon as the hominy is cooked and browned. Serve in the pan with a few extra leaves of basil for garnish.

If You Make Popped Hominy Salad, a Few Tips

Chadwick Boyd


Chadwick is a food and lifestyle expert and TV host with test kitchens in New York City and Atlanta. He helps organize the International Biscuit Festival and Southern Food Writing Conference held in Knoxville, Tennessee, every May.

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Popped Hominy Salad with Fresh Corn and Basil Is Summer in a Skillet

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