Grilled Corn-Portobello Cakes with Corn and Huitlacoche Sauces

Chef Miguel Aguilar, Alma De Cuba restaurant, Philadelphia


Yield: 24 portions


Mushroom Marinade
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped garlic
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
24 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and gills removed

Arepa Dough
3 pounds fresh white corn kernels
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups masarepa flour (parboiled refined corn flour; Goya brand)

Corn Sauce

3 1/2 quarts water
12 ounces dried sweet white corn
2 cups white vinegar
24 small diced piquillo (pimiento) peppers (about 3 cups)
2 cups minced fresh chives

Huitlacoche Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 (7-ounce) can huitlacoche
1 cup corn or vegetable stock
1/2 ounce truffle oil
Sugar to balance


Combine the marinade ingredients in a hotel pan. Add the mushrooms and gently toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes.

On a sheet pan, lay out the mushrooms and pour the marinade over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool

To make the dough: Combine the corn, butter, sugar, and anise seeds and mix well. Pour onto a half sheet pan and spread out. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until lightly toasted. Puree until smooth. Combine the 2 flours together, then slowly add the corn puree to form a dough. Add water or masarepa if needed to form a smooth dough that isn’t too sticky. For each mushroom, roll 4 1/2 ounces of dough to about 1/8 inch thick (between sheets of parchment or waxed paper). Lay a portobello upside down on the dough and wrap it around the top and 1/4 of the way around the other side, pleating it to round the edges. Set the wrapped mushrooms on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

To make the corn sauce: Combine the water, corn, and vinegar and cook until the corn softens. Puree in batches in a blender into a smooth sauce. Fold the peppers and chives into the sauce.

To make the huitlacoche sauce: Heat the oil and sauté the garlic and shallots for 10 minutes to soften. Add the huitlacoche and sauté for a few minutes, then add the stock. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree, starting slow and pureeing until smooth, then finishing with the truffle oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with sugar to balance the flavors.

For each serving, to order: In a sauté pan with a little bit of oil and butter, cook a mushroom arepa until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Cut into quarters, place over sautéed spinach and artichokes in a line. Drizzle 8 ounces corn sauce around the spinach and artichokes. Finish with 1/2 ounce huitlacoche sauce.


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