Corn is one of the noblest and most versatile species of edible plants, as can be seen in the colorful Mexican gastronomy, which bases many of its dishes on it.
Like any crop, corn is exposed to various factors that influence its growth, such as the weather, insects, and fungi. Huitlacoche, as Corn Smut is known in Mexico, falls within the scope of this last factor, with its Nahuatl-based name and characteristic flavor.
The most recent research indicates that it did not have a high cultural or ritual value, unlike what one might think at first, but rather, if you asked someone from pre-Hispanic times about Huitlacoche, they would tell you that it was a simple fungus, one of the many effects that corn could suffer.
Its popularity only began to grow in the 20th century, particularly in the second half. The boom and its re-evaluation resulted in it beginning to merge with Mexican cuisine, creating such well-known dishes as huitlacoche tacos and quesadillas, which combine one of the many final faces of corn –tortillas– with this delicious mushroom.
In Mexico, especially in the central region, many would say that there are no words to describe the delicacy that is Huitlacoche, with its characteristic taste and texture. The mushroom can be found in multiple presentations and is sold in almost any market.
The most popular part is the galls that grow on the cob, which is exactly the part that we consume. Because of the way it grows and reproduces, the fungus is intimately connected to the cob, making it quite resistant.
The flavor could be described as “delicate and slightly smoky” and we can know that it is ready to eat when, during cooking, the white and grayish color changes until it turns black. At this point, you can add it to the dish of your choice and enjoy one of the many delicacies that Mexican cuisine has to offer.
Huitlacoche is a national icon, one of the gifts of corn, giving a unique touch to any dish.