When an uncurled fern frond first peaks through the soil in the spring, it is called a "fiddlehead". Fiddlehead ferns offer an earthy, nutty flavor that has been likened to the taste of asparagus, artichokes, and mushrooms.
Hairy eggplant may be eaten raw by themselves or cooked in dishes to add a touch of piquant sweet and sourness -
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Huitlacoche is a culinary delicacy that has the appearance of vegetable ash coated and bloated shaped kernels. Its flavor is smoky sweet, a combination of the fungus resembling the sweet corn flavor along with the ashen earthy undertones the fungus creates. Huitlacoche should be harvested within 16-18 days of the corn being infected by the fungus, as its spores will then have reached maturity.
Hiutlacoche in frozen form, is available year-round.
Huitlacoche (pronounced wee-tlah-KOH-cheh) is scientifically classified as Ustilago maydis. Originally called 'cuitlacoche', is a fungus whose name translates from ancient Nauhatl as "corn smut". Taxonomically, Huitlacoche is not a mushroom; it is actually classified as a fungal disease that corn cobs develop within their stalks. The fungus attacks the kernels, replacing them with a blue-black, mold-like substance that hardens.
Huitlacoche is believed to help and possible cure hepatic or gastroenteric ulcers as well relieve constipation. A tincture made from the corn smut is believed to aid in dizziness and dull headaches.
Pair with cheeses, squash blossoms, shrimp, lobster, monkfish and scallops. Add to soups, tacos, quesadillas and salsas. To store, keep frozen.
The people of Mexico and the Hopi Native American tribe considered Huitlacoche to be delicacy. The Hopi called it "nanha" and harvested the fungus when it was young and tender, boiling it until just done and sauteing in butter until crisp. Another Native tribe, the Zuni, call it corn-soot and believe it is the "generation of life."
Though the name suggests Hiutlacoche is native to Mexico, the fungus can be found all over the world; though, indeed it is most easily and often found in Mexico and some parts of the United States where it is intentionally infected into cultivated corn to produce commercial Huitlacoche crops. Once the fungi's teliospores are mature, they are dispersed naturally by the wind, blowing them into the soil. The spores can survive the winter to infect the next year's crop.
Recipes that include Huitlacoche Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
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