Huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on maize and is known in English as corn smut though, as its name would in no way imply, this is a delicacy in Mexican cuisine. Huitlacoche if of the species ustilago maris and derives its name from the burnt look it gives infected corn. Typically used as a filling quesadillas, this fungus was nearly eradicated by the USDA and is generally considered undesirable for corn growers. Apparently a push was made in the late 1980s to rebrand corn smut as the ‘Mexican truffle’ which may or may not have done it any favors. With the growing influence of Mexican culture on many aspects of life in the United States, including culinary options, it is not surprising that huitlacoche may finally have its day in the States. Its taste is described as an earthy and smoky mushroom. Here’s a recipe for what the author calls ‘Deliciously Smutty Huitlacoche Quesadillas.’ As with all things, I would advise you get fresh huitlacoche which can be obtained at most Mexican markets. Google a picture of the huitlacoche out of a can, the Goya product being popular, and email me about what it is like, I’m just not brave enough. I love quesadillas though, and this is a very classy rendition on that simple recipe. This is sure to impress your guests for dinner as well as impart a small portion of Mexican culinary culture along with it.

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