I've been really into food lately. I've even started watching Chopped and thinking about what I would make if I were in their position. Though I find that hard to do when they pull an ingredient out of the basket and I have no clue what it is. Take the rerun I watched the other day.
They pulled out huitlacoche. It's pronounced who-eet (rhyming with sweet)-la-coh-cheh. So of course I looked it up as soon as it appeared.
It's a black corn fungus. Ew. American farmers apparently think it is a disease and call it corn smut while the Aztecs considered it a delicacy as do the Mexicans now. Another ew.
It grows on the ears of corn, taking it over and turning it into this blackish-grey cob. Go ahead. Google it. I did.
In Mexico, it's eaten in quesadillas and used in other tortilla recipes. You can even buy it canned, though I'm not sure if it'll be available in your local Wal-Mart. Each of the baskets was based on Hispanic/ Mexican/ Latin cuisine which was why huitlacoche was in this episode of Chopped. But that ingredient threw me off completely. Normally I enjoy Hispanic cuisine though because I'm half-Dominican. But I doubt I'll ever willingly eat a corn fungus...
I enjoyed the episode though, even if the competitor I was rooting for lost in the final round. Chopped is one of the more interesting competitions on the Food Network because you never know what the competitors are going to get. At least they knew what to do with the huitlacoche.