The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Farmers’ Market Adentures – Huitlacoche, which is also known as…

One of the more popular stands at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is Tantre Farms, which was featured in the New York Times a couple of years ago. I think their popularity comes from the fact that they are a bunch of hippies and, to be honest, Ann Arbor loves its hippies. Personally, I don’t like them for many reasons with the primary one being BECAUSE they’re hippies. I also find that they are more expensive than other stands and their quality isn’t always as good. But one of the biggest issues I have with them is that they usually don’t wash their produce. I don’t know how many times I’ve wasted gallons of water cleaning their greens or taking layers of mud off beets. I often wonder what’s dirtier – their goods or their bodies. But they do have the widest variety and often have things I’ve never cooked before. This time I hit the jackpot.

I noticed they had a small pile of what looked to be weird-looking corn. Looking closer, I saw it was huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn ears that’s been labeled a superfood because of its fantastic nutritional value. Farmers here in the US consider it a blight and try their hardest to eradicate it. But just like offal, soccer, and Jerry Lewis, things we toss away in America are considered delicacies around the world. In this case, huitlacoche is prized in Mexico for its sweet, mushroomy, and earthy flavors.

But the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue – hoo-EET-la-COACH-ay. You can try it twenty times and may never get it right. Some people get all uppity and call it “corn truffle” – not bad, better than “corn fungus.” But the best alias for it is – are you ready for this – CORN SMUT! I’m dead serious, it’s also called “corn SMUT”. Given that there are people who find my site by Googling “Alex Trebek Shirtless,” I’m going to write “corn SMUT” as many times as I can in this post so I can get more page views. Because you know there are some guys out there looking for the type of corn SMUT that you can’t eat.

I actually had to buy corn SMUT two separate times. The first time, Boom Boom saw it in the fridge before I could cook it. She came into my office and interrupted an important conference call with an expression I can only describe as “utterly horrified.” As much as I tried to convince her it’s supposed to look like that, she tossed it.

Can you blame her?

I went back the next week, bought some more, and didn’t waste any time cooking the corn PORN. Er, I mean corn SMUT. I first heard about it from Rick Bayless, so I figured I’d use one of his recipes – Corn-Mushroom Tacos.

I know Rick’s got a reputation to uphold, but I’m surprised he didn’t just upgrade the name to “corn adult films.” Oh well, he’s got his priorities. I don’t have the luxury of a good name, so I’m calling them –

Corn SMUT Tacos

Makes 12 tacos

– 2 fresh poblano chiles

– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

– 1 medium white onion, finely chopped

– 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

– 1 medium tomato, diced

– 2 cups packed, roughly chopped lobes of corn SMUT

– Salt

– 3 tablespoons chopped epazote or cilantro leaves

– 12 corn tortillas

1. Make the filling: Roast the chiles over a gas flame or below a broiler until blackened on all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel the chiles, discard the stem and seeds and rinse briefly. Cut the chiles into 1⁄4- inch dice.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until its juices have reduced, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the poblanos and corn SMUTand simmer, stirring often, until reduced and quite thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and add the chopped epazote or cilantro.
4. Warm the tortillas: Place a steaming basket in a large saucepan filled with 1⁄2 inch of water and bring the water to a boil. Wrap the tortillas in a clean kitchen towel, place in the steamer and cover with a tight lid. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let stand without opening the steamer for 15 minutes.
5. Assemble the tacos: Just before serving, reheat the filling. Spoon some of the filling into a warm tortilla and fold it over. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling and serve right away.

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

13 comments on “Farmers’ Market Adentures – Huitlacoche, which is also known as…

  1. KTC
    September 11, 2012

    I burned my corn smut literally two days ago because I read on the internet that’s what you were supposed to do with it. I had no idea you could eat it! Well, I guess I know for next year. Sure did look gross though.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 11, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by. Since its a kind of mushroom I’d make sure youre actually getting corn smut before you eat it.

  2. The Byronic Man
    September 11, 2012

    That’s a trend that has to stop. Just because your produce is filthy doesn’t make it more “natural.” We’re in a CSA and get produce each week from someone who’s more in love with being an urban farmer than actually creating great produce, and one of his things is keeping the produce extra-filth encrusted. Some times we think he might scoop a little extra dirt in the bag.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 11, 2012

      Haha. I haven’t made that leap to CSA yet. Worried about too many weeks where i open the box and find a dozen rutabagas, 3 heads of lettuce and one potato.

      • The Byronic Man
        September 11, 2012

        One week our “carrot portion” was one carrot. What meal do you plan that calls for one carrot?

  3. Yinzerella
    September 12, 2012

    Sometimes from the CSA you only need one carrot…

    Also, this corn smut thing looks gross. And you know that I’m not an easily-scared eater.

  4. Forty Ounce
    September 13, 2012

    I fucking love you.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 14, 2012

      And I you! Let’s make some tacos!

      • Forty Ounce
        September 14, 2012

        seriously. I didn’t even know this corn smut thing existed. But your apparent good judgment, as displayed by your disdain for hippies, totally has me willing to try it!

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2012 by in Ann Arbor, Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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