Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Huitlacoche and Sweet Potato Quesadillas With Chipotle Cream

Huitlacoche, also known as the Mexican truffle (or by its less appealing common name, corn smut), is a mushroom-like fungus that grows on corn. It invades the plant through the stalk and feeds off of the kernels. When you peel back the corn silk of a plant that has been infected with the huitlacoche fungus, it looks like the corn has gone horribly wrong. It's kind of chunky and also looks like a smear of black ink. That aside, it's delicious. I'd describe the taste as earthy, bittersweet, with a faint herbal flavor of oregano. It's quite a delicacy in Mexico. It hasn't quite caught on here.

You can find huitlacoche in some Mexican supermarkets if you look, but if you are really interested in finding it, Amazon always has a few vendors that supply it. I've served it stuffed into poblano peppers, had it served to me stuffed inside of empanadas in Austin, Texas. I have had it at El Palmar on Summer Avenue in Memphis

These quesadillas are a great thing to do when you're ready to put corn smut to good use. The mild sweetness of the sweet potato plays nicely off of the bittersweetness of the huitlacoche, and the creamy/spicy blend of the chipotle sour cream is the perfect garnish.

Huitlacoche and Sweet Potato Quesadillas With Chipotle Cream

1 tablespoon canola oil (more for cooking the quesadillas; like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 1/4 cups finely diced sweet potato (1 small)

sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
7 ounces oaxaca or mozzarella (shredded)
7 small corn or flour tortillas
7 ounce can Huitlacoche
Chipotle Sour Cream (recipe follows)

chives (to garnish)

In a medium pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the sweet potato and cook, turning often, until sweet potato has softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Assemble the quesadillas by layering in equal amounts of cheese onto each tortilla and then continuing with equal amounts of huitlacoche and sweet potato. Close each tortilla. In a medium pan over medium heat, add a touch of oil and grill each quesadilla until lightly brown and the cheese has melted (about 2 minutes per side). Garnish with chipotle sour cream and chives.

Chipotle Sour Cream

7 ounces Mexican Crema or sour cream
2 chipotle pepper (from a can)
1 clove garlic

Place crema, chipotle, and garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.


vegetarian said...

looks yummy and delicious! thanks for the great recipe!

Mel said...

Have pinned this and will be making it over the weekend for my sister.

Jen @ said...

I can't eat sour cream but this looks so good!! Any suggestions for a sour cream substitute?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Hey Jen! Try Greek yogurt, whole milk version. We sub it out for sour cream all the time.