Huitlacoche (or corn smut) is a pathogenic plant fungus that grows on the above ground portion of corn species. It is popular in Mexico where it is used as a filling in quesadillas and tacos or can be used fresh in soups and stews. Interestingly, corn smut contains lysine, an essential amino acid that is not found in uninfected corn.
The fungus has had difficulty entering into the American and European diets as most farmers see it as blight. In 1989 the James Beard Foundation held a huitlacoche dinner and attempted to popularize the food in the United States by renaming it the “Mexican truffle.”
To be perfectly honest, of the foods covered so far in Grotesque or Gourmet? this is probably the only one that I would actually try. Just don’t call it “corn smut.”
Stop back tomorrow for the final installment of Grotesque or Gourmet? (Hint: I got to make foam maggots for the bulletin board for this one.)