Friday, May 22, 2009
After stopping at a local Mexican drive through window to order my daughter a cheese quesadilla, I got to thinking how difficult it is to get a real quesadilla around these parts. I don’t think my local berto’s will be serving up tuetano con champiñones (marrow and mushrooms), Huitlacoche (corn smut), or Flor de Calabaza quesadillas any time soon. Since its Flor De Calabaza season the wife and I decided to make a trip to San Diegos Hillcrest Farmers Market, and pick up some fresh squash blossom flowers out of Valdivia Farms in Carlsbad.
Flor De Calabaza
I pretty much had the rest of the ingredients at home and currently grow epazote. If you do not have epazote it’s available at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, Specialty Produce, or Northgate Market.
Epazote from the garden
1 1/4 pounds Squash Flowers, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Sea salt to taste
2 pablano chilies, charred, peeled, and cut into strips
1 tablespoon roughly chopped epazote
This is a fairly simple recipe; most of the work is in the prep. It was a fun day making these; my brother and I were prepping the flowers while the wife worked the grill and the masa. This Recipe is adapted from Diana Kennedys "From My Mexican Kitchen Techniques and Ingredients."
Rinse and briefly shake excess water off the flowers. Remove stringy green sepals around the base of each flower. If the flowers are large leave about a half inch of the stalk on. Roughly chop the flowers, calyx and stamen included.
Prepare chiles by placing over open flame , turning them from time to time until skin is blistered and lightly charred. Place them inside a plastic bag and set aside to steam for 10 about minutes; this process will loosen the skin. Then remove the skin by running your hands or a spoon down the chile. Cut into vertical strips.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onion garlic, and a little salt, and fry gently without browning until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the chili strips and cook stirring from time to time, for another two minutes.
Add the flowers and salt to taste, cover the pan, and cook over low heat until the round calyx is tender, not soft, about 10 minutes. Add epazote after 5 minutes.
The mixture should be moist not juicy.
Prepare some corn tortillas on the comal with some Oaxaca cheese and flor de calabaza mixture. Enjoy!
This is enough for about 15 quesadillas (which was a bit much) I will most likely split the recipe in half next time. Its unfortunate as to what is being passed off as a quesadilla locally, flour tortilla the size of a tent with greasy flavorless yellow cheese is not a good representation.
Its flor de calabaza season give them a try I’m sure you will enjoy. If your not up to making them Aqui Es Texcoco in Chula Vista makes some very good ones.