Friday, March 06, 2009

Corn Smut

So, I was at a party this week. I'd had some drinks. I was about to leave, but everyone was having a good time. One thing led to another.

And then someone brought out the corn smut.



Huitlacoche Crepes

Corn smut is a disease in corn. It is seen as a pest in the U.S. But in Mexico, it is a delicacy called huitlacoche.

Huitlacoche turns corn into large fungus-like tumors. It is a black, mushy mess. It looks unappetizing at best.

One of the party-goers named Vivianne had brought some canned huitlacoche from Mexico. And she had used it to cook up a pan of huitlacoche crepes. She also cooked chicken crepes. But everyone preferred the huitlacoche -- even after we told them what it was.

Huitlacoche has a lovely soft, creamy texture. The flavor is mellow, not strong. It is earthy, and just a little sweet.

I had tried huitlacoche before -- in an egg dish at El Mirador in San Antonio. (Plus ethnic food guru Jay Francis may have given me a bite of huitlacoche. He brings odd foods to Chowhound events). But I have never seen it in Houston restaurants.

Vivianne had discovered that crepes are huitlacoche's perfect delivery vehicle. The thin, delicate pancakes and a light layer of cheese complimented its mild flavor.

I left the party wanting -- no, needing -- more huitlacoche.

Can someone help me? Are there any restaurants where I can get this stuff in Houston?

13 comments:

Dr. Ricky said...

Not too many restaurants in Houston server huilacoche, which is odd, considering our proximity to Mexico. Then again, even in Mexico, huilacoche is a delicacy. Hugo's serves a huilacoche enchilada, I believe. Other than that, since I can find the canned stuff, I cook it myself.

Anonymous said...

Hugo's makes great huitlacoche quesadillas but i think its a seasonal thing- you may want to check ahead of time

Anonymous said...

Try Hugo's and Julia's Bistro.

Randy Twaddle said...

Found this on the Hugo's menu:

Filete del Campesino – tenderloin stuffed with squash, mushrooms, huitlacoche, and Chihuahua cheese, topped with tomatillo salsa 22.

HoustonWok said...

wow, Iam not sure to think of this one. But I suppose if its good, I ll try it. Thanks,

Rubiao said...

While in Mexico I ate huitlacoche a few times (mostly in the south, Chiapas and Oaxaca) and recently, one of my traveling companions went back without me and brought back a can of it as a gift. I have no real idea of what to do with it, whether it is a good or bad huitlacoche, or how long it lasts. Dr Ricky, preparations?

My favorite part of eating it in Mexico was seeing how it was translated. Corn fungus, corn truffles, corn smut...

Also, I think bringing fresh (?) huitlacoche into the states would be akin to bringing in a vial of cholera, and that is why you don't see it here much.

Dr. Ricky said...

Rubiao, I would advise against bringing fresh huilacoche into the US. In fact, the US Dept of Agriculture has active programs for exterminating the corn smut fungus. The canned stuff should last indefinitely, though, so long as it remains unopened. That said, I find that huilacoche works well with creamy preparations - I made a savory cheesecake with the stuff which was well received. You can also do a creamy soup with it, or stuff it into crepes as an snazzier version of the enchilada. I imagine that a huilacoche lasagna is possible, or ravioli.

Celia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Celia said...

http://www.juliasbistro.com/

Here is the website for Julia's Bistro. :)

Rubiao said...

Funny. I actually had a huitlacoche cream sauce on ravioli at a somewhat fancier than I was used to restaurant in San Cristobal de las Casas.

I'll see how it goes...

neverfull said...

i was a big fan of huitlacoche until i met the live stuff in person on thanksgiving.

i was shucking fresh corn my aunt purchased from a farmer in rosenberg. i literally screamed out loud when i saw it. here is a photo: http://twitpic.com/28mq8

it will take me awhile to get over it.

Rumela said...
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