The other day, I was out shopping at Superior with my roommate David who had disappeared down one of the aisles while I shopped for produce. I was after veggies for my caldo de res and was adding golden onions to a plastic bag when I spotted the delicate flash or orange. Ooh shiny!
I finished filling my bag of onions then wove my way through the crowded aisle to the object of my fascination, flor de calabaza or squash flower blossoms. Neatly tied in bunches the long orange flowers beckoned, whispering seductive words in my ear. Words like quesadillas, budin, stuffed and fried blossoms, soup, cake… omg. I had no defense against the beautiful orange and green flowers that could have been pumpkins had they been allowed to finish growing.
I couldn’t stay focused on the caldo. I just couldn’t. I HAD to have those blossoms. Had to. So I grabbed two bunches and surreptitiously snuck them into the shopping cart. We were budget shopping and I wasn’t supposed to stray. Still, they were squash flower blossoms. Well, actually these were pumpkin flowers. In the springtime when you find them they are from squash and at the end of summer, they are from pumpkin. Either way, they are delicious and bring back memories of a little back garden with my grandfather gently picking off some of the blossoms and of a kitchen that was redolent with aroma.
When I see certain foods, I see my beautiful Mexican grandmother in her apron at the stove. I can almost hear her voice and feel her incredibly soft little hands wrapping around mine as she shows me how to pinch a sope, roll out dough or some other wonder. Those delicate orange flowers are one of those evocative things that tug at my memory and my heart.
When we got home, I happily pulled my blossoms out of their bad and shooed David out of the kitchen while I set about to making the quesadillas I was longing for. I chopped tiny little squares of Mexican squash and thinly sliced onion then caramelized them in a little butter. Once they were fully caramelized, I removed the stamens from the blossoms and rough chopped the flowers, adding them to the onions and squash until just wilted. Then I started to assemble my quesadillas.
There are many different versions of the squash flower quesadilla. Sometimes I add diced poblano chile, garlic and omit the squash.
Usually, when I make them I take the time to make the corn tortillas by hand. They taste sooooo good when I do them that way, but this time I was so impromptu that I used fresh corn tortillas I had just bought from the tortillerilla. The quesadillas were still delicious and light but next time I won’t cheat.
Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza/Squash Blossom Quesadillas
1 bunch of squash flower blossoms, cleaned and rough chopped
1 onion, halved then thinly sliced
1 Mexican squash (something like a zucchini) diced finely
Dash sea salt
1 tablespoon of butter
Caramelize the squash and onions in the butter on a medium flame until well browned. Add the sea salt and squash flowers and cook for about two minutes, just till the flowers are wilted. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet or griddle, heat a corn tortilla then turn it over to the other side. Add thick slices of queso fresco and a scoopful of the squash mixture, top with another corn tortilla. Flip over and keep on heat until the cheese melts. Keep making them until you run out of filling.
Serve sliced in half with a little cream and salsa. Ricissimo!