Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Food Wednesday: February 8, 2012

So it's been a week since I posted anything (we'll chalk it up to gallbladder issues and a busy work week), and I was out of ideas for this week's edition of New Food Wednesday... When I realized that I hadn't covered this Mexican/ Latin American delicacy.  Look closely, those aren't refried beans on the taco.

Find out what is after the jump!

It's Huitlacoche (weet-la-CHO-che), fans of the television show the "West Wing" might know it as sweet corn smut!

Corn smut, is actually the byproduct of a fungal infection of the Ustilago Maydis bacterium.  The yeast-like bacteria enter the corn plant, and gradually replace the kernels with large tumors of infected tissue. 

Prized by the ancient Aztecs and modern Mexicans for its earthy flavor, this mushroom-like growth has largely gone unnoticed in mainstream Western European cuisine.  Which I find particularly odd giving our affinity for truffles (the fungus not the chocolate). 

Aaron Sorkin once wrote it's "a sweet corn fungus fed to pigs in the US but considered a delicacy in South America."

That pretty much sums up the unwarranted "Western" phobia of this delicacy.

I was fortunate enough to a dish prepared with huitlacoche on one of my soujourns to Mexico, and if you're lucky enough to find it in the States, give it a shot!   You'll be pleasantly surprised.

For the very informative wikipedia article on the subject click here:

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!

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