Photo by Charles Luce
Provenance of Dish
This recipe came to me from Mexico-City-based Graphic Designer Anna Ocón Beltrán, who learned it from her grandmother.
Anna did the design for my gluten-free bread mix packaging, and she’s a good friend to boot. We bonded over a mutual love of huitlacoche - and ice skating (but that’s a different story).
I’ve adapted the recipe to accommodate my celiac disease, making the crepes gluten-free. Using nixtamalized corn flour (masa seca) gives them an enchilada flavor, which can be tamped down if desired by diluting the corn flour with oat or brown rice flour. Alternatively, one can make traditional wheat-flour crepes, although in my opinion corn goes better with mushrooms than does wheat.
Use fresh huitlacoche if you have a source, but canned will do - it’s often quite good.
For the crepes:
1 cup nixtamalized corn flour (masa seca)
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
¼ cup of milk
For the filling:
About 16 ounces (500 grams) fresh or canned huitlacoche mushrooms
Butter to sauté fresh mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
For the salsa:
2 Lb (1 kg) un-hulled tomatillos
1/2 cup (about 1/4) medium white onion, well-diced
1 jalapeño or chile verde pepper, well-diced
2 cups chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
Pinch of salt
1 Lb shredded Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
1) Make the crepes:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the masa seca, the eggs, the salt and the milk until a smooth batter forms
Heat a crepe pan, or a large, well-seasoned skillet, over medium-high until a dab of added butter froths immediately. Using a wadded paper towel or a fine heat-proof brush, smear the pan with a very thin layer of butter. Using one hand, lift the skillet or pan and with the other hand dip a ladle or 1/4 cup measure of batter and pour into pan while tilting and swirling. The objective is to create a very thin, circular pool of dough.
Allow dough to steam off and partially dry, then use a spatula or pancake turner to flip. Remove when cooked through, which takes less than a minute. Pile up the finished crepes on a plate and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel.
2) Prepare huitlacoche.
If fresh, sauté in butter over medium heat until black, fragrant, and steamy. If canned, open the can. ;-)
3) Make the sauce.
Add two quarts of water to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the tomatillos and boil until soft. Remove to a separate bowl to cool.
Add the onion and jalapeño. Use a food processor or blender to process to a fine sauce. Add the cilantro leaves and mix well.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. When oil shimmers, add the sauce and fry for about 4 mins. Turn heat to low, add sour cream, and stir to mix. Simmer gently for a minute or two, stirring to prevent cream breaking. ( “No se corta la crema”, Anna says.)
4) Assemble and finish.
Heat oven to 350 F. Fill crepes with 2 - 4 Tablespoons of huitlacoche and roll to close them up. Place in a large stoneware or Pyrex baking dish.
Cover the crepes with the sauce.
Scatter cheese over the crepes.
Bake, uncovered, until cheese melts and bubbles; 20 - 45 minutes. Serve immediately.