From Corn Smut to Mexican Truffle

By Lester Velazquez-Po, Casa Navarro Customer Service Representative

“Corn smut” or huitlacoche.You may have heard about “corn smut”—a parasitic fungus that attacks corn—impeding the normal growth of the plant and its produce. Predictably, many corn growers worldwide destroy the crops affected by it.

However, this seemingly destructive fungus is actually fit for human consumption. In Mexico, it is known as huitlacoche (a word derived from the Aztec, or Nahuatl, language), and it has been consumed there since the pre-Columbian era.

While growing corn at Casa Navarro State Historic Site, we noticed some huitlacoche sprouting out of our plants. Having this fresh and valuable ingredient growing in our backyard, we decided to continue the culinary tradition of transforming this “corn smut” into the delicacy that has earned the nickname “Mexican truffle.”

Here’s our recipe for Quesadillas de Huitlacoche. Follow our easy guide to prepare this succulent dish in your kitchen.

Packaged epazote from the grocery store.You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Huitlacoche (or corn smut)
  • Onion
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Garlic
  • Epazote
  • Salt
  • Oaxaca cheese
  • Tortillas

Follow these steps to make your Quesadillas de Huitlacoche. For images of each step, see the photo gallery below.

  1. Remove the fungus from the ear of corn, and wash thoroughly, making sure to wash away any slimy parts. Do not use a slimy fungus.
  2. Chop onion, jalapeño peppers, and, if desired, garlic.
  3. Heat oil in a pan to medium temperature and add the chopped onion and garlic.
  4. Toss in the chopped jalapeño shortly after.
  5. Chop the huitlacoche and epazote leaves. Add salt to the pan and mix in.
  6. When onions are visibly soft, add both the huitlacoche and epazote into the frying pan.
  7. Mix all the ingredients in the pan, and cook until the huitlacoche becomes black and slimy.
  8. Once the huitlacoche is ready, heat up (or make) some tortillas.
  9. After heating up both sides of the tortilla, add cheese and huitlacoche as desired.
  10. Fold your quesadilla and heat on both sides. Enjoy!

Casa Navarro is located at the corner of S. Laredo and W. Nueva streets in downtown San Antonio, in the Texas Independence and Hill Country Trail Regions.

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Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • Step 1: Remove the fungus from the ear of corn, and wash thoroughly, making sure to wash away any slimy parts. Do not use a slimy fungus.

Comments

You can make it in crepes too, make the huitlacoche same as for the quesadillas, fill the crepes, roll them and cover with the sauce you most prefer...delicious!!!,