I was at the Farmers Market on Tuesday and I stopped to buy produce at one of the tables. Wait, what is that? Hmmm, it’s corn but what’s wrong with it? It’s lumpy, deformed,and looks inedible. The corn was definitely a curiosity that had most people stumped. The sign behind the corn said ‘Huitlacoche,’ (sometimes spelled cuitlacoche) which meant nothing to me, but two gentlemen, local chefs, stopped to look and one of them blurted out, “Corn smut.” Oh, my…Intriguing, titillating, and, oh yeah, smutty.
Corn smut sounds scandalous, doesn’t it? It turns out that ‘corn smut’ aka ‘Mexican truffle’, is a fungus. It’s a delicacy in Mexico, but farmers don’t like it because it reduces the corn yield. I appreciate that my local farmer made lemonade out of lemons when her corn crop turned smutty. According to the experts, it is usually cooked with chorizo or eggs, apparently taking on a truffle-like flavor when cooked with other fatty foods. It’s typically eaten as a filler in tortillas or quesadillas. Here’s what to look for so you can buy your own summer tantalizer, corn smut.