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I had this salt, sal de gusano, in Teuchitlán, Mexico, and fell in love with it immediately, even when I was told that is it made, in part, with dried worms. Oaxacan cooks put protein-rich, nutty-tasting roasted chapulines (grasshoppers) and maguey worms into all manner of moles, tacos, tlayudas and guisados. This Oaxacan-made salt may sound like a novelty (like the worm at the bottom of rotgut tequila), but it’s a wonderful all-purpose seasoning. The ground worms add earthiness and savoriness—an umami punch that’s excellent. Piquin and árbol chili powders round out the salt with a bright, slightly smoky heat that can enhance beans, fish, chicken—or your next margarita or shot of mezcal. (The worms are actually larvae that live in the agave plant, which are used to make tequila and mezcal. The sal de gusano I had was served with a slice of lime—dip the lime into the salt and then take a shot of mezcal.)
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