I love going on research trips in the Mission to find new spices and ingredients for recipes. This soup is really simple but becomes special when topped with huitlacoche and coriander crusted head-on shrimp. The huitlacoche, which is also called Mexican corn truffle, is a mushroom-like fungus that grows on ears of corn. It’s delicious and adds beautiful color to the soup. Sometimes I make a simple version of the shrimp (without heads) and serve it on top of a salad of jicama, avocado, cilantro and crumbled queso and for a healthy dinner.
Active Time: 1¼ hours
Roasted Potato Soup
1¼ lb russet potatoes (about 3 large)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 small sweet onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup crema (Mexican sour cream)
8 large, head-on shrimp
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled with your fingers
½ teaspoon Ancho chili powder
½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon lime zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil for sautéing
1 cup huitlacoche
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Special Tools: Blender or hand-held immersion blender
Roasted Potato Soup
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Rinse the potatoes and prick the skins with a fork. Wrap each potato in foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very soft. Unwrap and let cool slightly.
While the potatoes are roasting heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter and stir until the butter melts. Add the diced onion and sauté slowly until the onion is soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to stir often so the onion doesn’t brown – this will help to keep the soup white. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop the inside out with a spoon. If the potatoes are still too hot to hold wrap the bottom half with a towel. Discard the skin and add the potatoes to the soup pot. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender or in the soup pot using a hand-held blender until very smooth. Pour the soup through a strainer, pressing on any solids. Stir in crema and salt, adding more if necessary. Keep soup warm until ready to serve.
Rinse and peel shrimp leaving heads and tails intact. Mix the spices, brown sugar, lime zest and salt together in a small bowl. Drizzle shrimp with 1 tablespoon canola oil and then sprinkle spice mixture over the shrimp, tossing gently to coat. Let the shrimp rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Heat a small saucepan over high heat. Add the butter and swirl until melted. Add the huitlacoche and salt and sauté until golden at the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. The huitlacoche will still be soft inside. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast in the oven until crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat with ¼ cup canola oil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until just cooked through and curling.
Divide the soup between four serving bowls. Sprinkle a few pieces of huitlacoche in the center and lay two shrimp on the side of the bowl. Garnish with a small bunch of cilantro leaves.