Huitlacoche and Cheese Grits
Huitlacoche or “Corn Smut” is the fruiting body of the Ustilago madis fungus. The fungus infects corn and its wild cousin teosinte and usually presents itself as big gray swelled up kernels bursting through the cornhusk. Although it looks pretty off-putting at first, it is perfectly edible and actually has some nutrients that are absent in corn. The indigenous people that first cultivated corn were likely subsisting on it as a primary source of calories so the Huitlacoche would have provided a great nutritional supplement in lean times.It’s certainly one of the stranger things that we eat on our homestead, but as we work towards producing all of our own food in a limited space we often find ourselves looking to the people who first figured out how to live off of this land.In Mexico Huitlacoche is typically ground into a paste and eaten in quesadillas. While I think this sounds delicious, our preferred method is to cut it into bite-sized pieces, brown it on each side and use it to top cheesy grits made from the same corn patch that the huitlacoche infected. If you ever find yourself face to face with a strange fungal monster in your corn patch, make sure to give this recipe a try!
- 1 cup Huitlacoche AKA Corn Smut
- 2 cups corn grits
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper optional
- 2 eggs
- Chives or Scallions
- Salt to taste
- Bring a pot of water with 7-8 cups of water to a boil
- While the water heats, cut your huitlacoche into bit sized pieces and remove any black mushy spots. These are edible, but they will take away from the texture.
- When the water begins to boil, slowly pour in your grits while stirring and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer these for about 30 minutes or until the texture is to your liking (stir occasionally to prevent sticking).
- Cut your chili pepper finely and set aside.
- Heat a skillet to medium high with a small amount of oil or butter and sear the huitlacoche on each side until they are nicely browned.
- After removing your huitlacoche from the skillet, fry the two eggs in the pan to your preferred doneness.
- When your grits are finished cooking, stir in the shredded cheese and finely chopped pepper and salt to taste.
- Finally, scoop some of the grits onto a plate or bowl and top with the huitlacoche, fried egg and finely chopped chives.