Well, last night, I finally tried it: huitlacoche. When we were browsing the antiques stalls of Puebla, I saw two plastic bags filled with this fungus that grows on corn, and I really wanted to try and buy some. I just didn´t know if our hosts wanted to use it to make something! I had it in an avocado half, with “the sauce of the avocado” (a-hem, guacamole!) served under it. It was either cooked or canned (I saw jars of the stuff mixed with mild chiles for sale in Puebla as well). It didn´t really have too much personality. I have not experience with it, but if it is indeed like a mushroom or truffle, then I think it was over-cooked. 🙂 But what do I know?
While we were in Puebla, everywhere you looked had ads for chiles en nogada, which I had always though of as a dish for special occasions only. Here is a quote from a recipe from Diane Kennedy´s book on Mexican cooking. I found it on RecipeSource.com:
“The recipe is said to have been concocted by the grateful people of Puebla, who were giving a banquet in honor of Don Agustin de Iturbide’s saint’s day, August 28 in 1821. He and his followers had led he final revolt against Spanish domination; as self-proclaimed emperor he had just signed the Treaty of Cordoba. All the dishes at the banquet were concocted of ingredients of the colors of the Mexican flag; in this dish were the green chiles, the white sauce, and the red pomegranate seeds.
It is almost worth a special journey to Mexico City or, better still, to Puebla toward the end of August. By then it is well on in the rainy season, and the fresh crop of walnuts will have been gathered. The peasants come in from the country with them, and you can see them sitting on the sidewalks at every street corner selling little piles of a dozen walnuts. Sometimes they are crammed into small paper bags, but the top one will always be cracked open so that you can see its quality. The flesh is tender, almost milky, with a very delicate flavor, and the papery skin around it can be peeled off easily. Practically every restaurant will have chiles en nogado on the menu, and no family fiesta will be complete without them during their short season.”
So, I guess that it is not too early! There were walnut vendors everywhere!