It’s the season for huazontle, a spindly plant from Mexico with bright green branches with thousands of tiny buds, somewhat similar to the beads on broccoli florets. Eaten around the Holy Week of Lent, the buds have a mild spinachy flavor. Though beautiful specimens have been popping up in Mexican markets lately, it is rare to see them on outer-borough taqueria menus.
The most common preparation is to take finger-sized stems of the plant, bundle a few around a baton of cheese, dip the mass in an eggy batter, and then fry it. The branches stick out of the fritter like the stick on a corn dog, and you have to carefully nibble the greenery from the fibrous stems.
Gran Electrica, a Mexican restaurant in DUMBO that opened on Monday, is making it a little easier. They are serving tortitas de huazontle, a vegetarian frittata of sorts. The pinhead-sized huazontle buds are plucked from their stems, blanched, and then pan-fried into a small oval omelet with queso fresco and epazote. A pile of huazontle clusters sit on top and the pool of tomato chile sauce underneath has a slow burn that builds to a fiery crescendo, long after your plate is clean.
Where to buy it:
El Pueblo Mexicano Grocery
239 East 116th Street
Where to eat it:
5 Front Street, Brooklyn