HUITLACOCHE SOUP WITH SQUASH BLOSSOMS
Chefs on the Farm
by Shannon Borg & Lora Lea Misterly
Huitlacoche is an exotic fungus that grows on corn. It's highly prized in Mexico, and we find it on about 10 percent of our corn crop. It is inky black in color and has a nutty corn flavor and an earthy hint of mushroom. It takes on the somewhat starchy characteristic of corn, so this soup will thicken as it cools. If the soup gets too thick before serving, simply thin with water.
To harvest or buy huitlacoche (also known as the corn mushroom), look for firm texture; the fungus should be from the ears of the corn, not the stalks. Trim any frayed black ends from the fungus. You will find huitlacoche—fresh, frozen, and often dried—at farmers markets, Latino markets, and specialty grocers. Huitlacoche can be frozen; just trim away any bits of corn cob or frayed ends. If frozen, however, it will be unattractive and should be used only in recipes that will feature the ingredient pureed.
When selecting zucchini blossoms, look for the male flowers, as they are generally smaller at the base than the females. The female blossoms have the beginnings of a baby squash at their base.
Makes 8 Servings
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 sweet onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 4 cups chopped fresh huitlacoche
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
• 1 dried arbol chile, whole
• Kosher salt
• 8 male zucchini blossoms
• 8 to 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
• 1/2 cup fresh chèvre
• Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sweet onion, garlic, and huitlacoche. Sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture softens. Add the stock, cumin, and chile. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the chile and puree the soup. Return pureed soup to the stockpot and season to taste with salt. Set the cover askew and keep warm over low heat.
Pinch the stamen from the center of each zucchini blossom. Mix the tomatoes with the and season with salt to taste. Stuff the blossoms with the tomato-chèvre mixture and close them. Put the blossoms on a baking sheet and brush with oil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the is soft.
To serve, pour the soup into individual bowls and top with a stuffed blossom.