Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 16:48:46 -0500
To: The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: Fran <frich.TENET.EDU>
Subject: Re: Epazote

> Is anyone familiar with the Mexican herb Epazote?

I always chuckle when I see epazote seedlings at nurseries. This stuff is a weed! (But I guess you gotta get it started somehow!) From one small seedling we wound up fighting it for several years to get rid of it! Self seeds like crazy - in my neck of the woods anyway. Unfortunately, we were very successful in eliminating it - would like to have *one* plant, at least. According to TexMex lore, when added to beans (as in cooking pinto beans) it removes the "gas" - if you know what I mean.

From: Joyce Schillen <gardenpg.CDSNET.NET>

>Is anyone familiar with the Mexican herb Epazote?

Yes, Epazone grows as a perennial in my zone 8 garden, but I'm not sure how much cold it will tolerate. Quite a handsome plant with shiny green, pointed leaves and about 18 inches tall. It reseeds like crazy! The flavor is a little pungent (it almost has a turpentine fragrance to it) but it tastes pretty good cooked traditionally with beans. I think in Mexico and the southern US it has been eaten as a de-wormer. Isn't that a pleasant thought!

From: Margaret Lauterbach <mlaute.MICRON.NET>

>I was told that it tasted pretty good and I was mainly wondering about culinary uses.

I think it tastes better than it smells. Cooking may alter the aroma. We used it in huitlacoche (corn smut) last summer, and it's used in bean dishes. Now that I have used it, I will use it more often. Margaret

From: YvettaWill.AOL.COM

I really enjoy epazote. I like to eat the leaves. It is an acquired taste. I also use it in beans and Mex. Cooking. If you cut off the seed stalks before they start dropping you can keep it under control. The plant will come up again from the roots. I cut my two plants almost to the ground a few months ago and they are about 6 inches high again with new leaves. The first year I let it go to seed and had a ½ a coffee can full of seeds and lots of plants.

From: "Daniel M. Germán" <dmg.CSG.UWATERLOO.CA>

> I always chuckle when I see epazote seedlings at nurseries. This stuff is a weed!

I feel, as a Mexican, that I have to defend the honor of epazote.

It is a weed; its scientific name "Chenopodium Ambrosoides". It is commonly used in Mexican cooking, on almost everything.

It is sooo common and cheap in Mexico that no spices company sells it packed. Neither it is sold dry.

Living in Canada, sometimes I can find dry epazote, which is not bad. Not as good as fresh but better than nothing for sure.

I imported some seeds not long ago. After 3 trials, I have been successful and now I have an "edible-size" plant of epazote in my apartment's window.

I just came back from Mexico City, where I had an excellent "Red snapped with Epazote", at "El Cardenal", a well known restaurant downtown (highly recommendable).

Last but not least, a recipe that uses epazote. "Sopa Azteca". I have prepared this recipe and it is delicious.

(Please forgive any spelling or English errors that I might have added during the translation).

Aztec Soup

3 garlic cloves
½ onion cut in big chuncks
3 tomatoes
6 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of oil
2 small branches of epazote
salt and pepper
8 -10 corn tortillas left on the counter the day before
oil to deep fry
2 -3 chiles pasilla
2 chopped avocados
155 gr of feta cheese of some similar fresh cheese
½ cup of whipping cream
3 limes

Roast the garlic cloves, onion and tomatoes on a pan until the skin is burned, rotating them in the meantime. Peel the tomatoes, remove their hard parts and blend them with the onion and garlic plus ¼ cup of chicken stock.

On one spoon of oil, fry the puree for 2 minutes. Lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the puree get thicker or changes in colour.

Add the remainder chicken stock and epazote. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes.

Cut the tortillas in halves, and then each half in thin strips. Add 1cm of oil in a small pan. When it is hot, add the strips --few at a time-- and fry them for 3 minutes or until they are golden, flipping them once. Take out and remove excess oil. (It is important that the tortillas are dry, if you can not leave them drying the day before, put them in your oven at 120 Celsius for one hour).

Cut the chiles in rings of 1cm and remove the seeds. Fry them in oil for one minute or until crunchy.

Five minutes before serving, heat the soup, add the fried tortillas. Decorate each bowl with chile rings and avocado. Add cheese.

Leave rest of avocado, chiles, cream and limes on the table for extra garnish.