Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adventures of Corn Smut (Huitlacoche): Quesadillas Lucha



My biggest mission besides #winning 4 graduate credits studying abroad in Mexico was eating huitlaoche, a fungus that grows in the corn silk. The disease enters the ovaries of the plant and replaces the normal kernels of the corn with large distorted black tumors of pure sporage awesomeness. The Aztecs originally ate huitlacoche and it's considered a delicacy in Mexico. One of the most common ways to eat the fungus is in a quesadilla.




I didn't see too many places in Guadalajara for huitlaoche quesadillas, but they were all over the place in Mexico City. One of my travel compadres had a local Mexico City-ian friend who we spent the day with. I immediately started pestering her for corn smut advice and she knew the perfect place to go - an inside street food market in the bowels of Coyocan. The corn smut was happening all over this joint. Despite its bold appearance, huitlacoche has a rather delicate, mildly earthy taste. Delicious!




They are serious about their flor de calabaza, or squash blossoms in Mexico. After being seduced days prior by an amazing creamy flor de calabaza soup, a blossom quesadilla was necessary. The delicate flavor of the flavor combined with melted Oaxacan cheese equates to pure bliss. 



My friend ordered up a hurache with nopal: a thick corn tortilla "sandal" smothered with refried beans, topped with cactus and cheese.




This joint pumped out fresh sapote con naranja juice. Sapote, a sweet, rich fruit combined with the brightness of orange juice made for the perfect balance of tangy sweet.




And you can find it all in the middle of this enclosed food-grocery-toys-shopping area. Miss you, corn smut!




Quesadillas Lucha
Coyoacan local 323
Mexico City, D.F.

7 comments:

Ivy said...

Although the description of huitlacoche doesn't sound very appealing yet it sounds very interesting and I would love to try it, if I could.

JustinM said...

Yes! I would love to try any of these dishes. They look amazing.

Helen said...

This food is completely foreign to me. There is no place in my city to get this kind of food. The closest we get to Mexican is tacos, burritos, fajitas, guacamole, nachos...standard fare. Nothing too exotic. I'm a bit leery about the fungus though, maybe it's the menacing black colour or that it's labeled as a corn ovary tumor...but I do love mushrooms so one bite and I may be smitten for life. I do love sqaush blossoms though - big time. Love them stuffed with feta cheese and beer battered and deep fried....oh lordy!

Anna A. said...

Ivy - eating tumors does sound bad, but at least they taste good and we're cutting their lives short ;-)

JustinM - I would love to have these all again... don't think you could even find this in LA.

Helen - I bet you would dig this fungus. It's very mild and has an appealing texture. I have been to Mexico (studied abroad twice) and other trips about 6 times and have never seen a burrito or nacho being sold (nachos were invented in the US)... lols I like the squash blossom with feta idea.. maybe an ouzo batter? opa!

Helen said...

Doh, LOL! Now you know how unauthentic the "mexican" food is over here. And how clueless I am. Are nachos and queso Tex-Mex food? That reminds me, in Greece they sell a salad called "salata Budapest" in the supermarket. Some kind of creamy mayo-laden veggie and ham concoction. Well there is no such salad in Budapest...nobody knows why it's called Budapest salad :D lol

Mary said...

Your photos are really wonderful. All these dishes look amazing. I'd eat any one of them. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Anna A. said...

Helen - I think I have seen that Budapest salad before...and it gave me the shivers! Eewwww weeee!

Mary - Thank you for the photo props!