We leave Mexico in less than a week, and already I’m making lists of things I’ll miss. Most of this list is food, of course, and most of that food is breakfast, my favorite meal.
Meet huitlacoche, the edible parasite. If you’re an ear of corn, huitlacoche is a scourge, a life-threatening invader, a deadly fungus. But if you happen to be human, it is the queen of all things mushroomy. It’s utter blackness indicates the saturation of the flavor. It’s like discovering Valrohna chocolate, or Italian espresso, or black truffles.
Ordinary mushrooms are to huitlacoche as the lightning bug is to the lightning.
Here’s what it looks like in its corn-killing parasite mode:
From Troy Gardens.
Eww, I know.
But this is what it looked like this morning at breakfast:
Like most edible parasites, the black fungus needs its intensity diluted. This omelet with huitlacoche and gruyare cheese was stunning on its own, but I figured that a few more flavors never hurt. So I stuck it into a tortilla with tomato, refried beans, hot sauce, and a big wedge of avocado, and had a breakfast to drool for.
How did it taste? Well, I’ll give you a hint. The place in San Miguel where they served me this is called “Nirvana.”