Mushroom and Huitlacoche Sopes with Salsa Verde
Coyo Taco, Palm Beach, FL, Miami, FL, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Panama City, Panama
A quick language lesson: to begin, huitlacoche is an earthy corn fungus, sold frozen or canned in Mexican markets or online at www.mexgrocer.com. To continue, sopes (also known as picaditas) are small corn masa tartlets, whose pinched edges form a ridge that enclose the filling. For the salsa, you can seed the jalapeño or not; the seeds carry much of the chile's heat. These sopes make excellent, if somewhat labor-intensive, hors d'oeuvre.
- 2 1/2 cups masa harina (the most common brand is Maseca)
- 4 tablespoons shortening or lard
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups cleaned and sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, and oyster, or any combination of wild mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup huitlacoche
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 10 tomatillos, hulled
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 jalapeños
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup grated cotija or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3/4 cup crema fresca (Mexican cream) or sour cream (that you have thinned with a little milk)
In a large bowl, combine the masa harina with the fat, water, and salt, and knead until you've formed a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic, and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Roll the masa into 1 1/2-inch balls. Press each ball between your palms to form 2-inch disks. On a griddle or in a sauté pan coated with vegetable oil, cook the disks over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and immediately pinch the edges to form a rim, so that each resembles a small tart shell. Reserve the sopes while you prepare the topping. They taste best when eaten the day they are made.
To prepare the mushroom filling, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large sauté pan set over high heat. When the pan begins to smoke, add the sliced mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of butter, and sauté until the mushrooms are brown. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil and butter and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until they are golden brown. Return the mushrooms to the pan. Add the huitlacoche, cayenne, parsley, and oregano. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To prepare the salsa verde, bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a medium pot. Add the tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and garlic cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain. Transfer to a blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt and purée. Return the mixture to the pot and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Cool. The salsa can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.
To assemble, warm the sopes on a griddle or in a sauté pan. Place 1 teaspoon of the salsa verde on each sope, top with 1 tablespoon of the warm mushroom mix, sprinkle with the cheese, and drizzle with the crema fresca or sour cream. Serve warm or at room temperature.