Nowadays, I find myself spending more time admiring the flowers in my back yard. Oh, what a beautiful flor de calabaza, squash-blossom, that is. I love it, the bees love it, it's good for my garden and it's good to eat too!
Flor de calabaza is one of the many edible flower that you can find in farmers' markets or specialty stores. But if you grow your own zucchini and summer squash, you can enjoy the extra bonus of their blossoms. You can prepare it in many different ways; in soups, tamales and crepes. You can stuff the squash blossom with cheese or mince meat, dip it in a batter and fry it; or use it to stuff chicken, meat or even vegetables. The possibilities are endless. My favorite way of eating this flower is in a simple but delicious quesadilla.
When I hear someone say quesadillas de flor de calabaza my mind is immediately transported to Oaxaca, a city in the southern part of Mexico. In Oaxaca I ate the most incredible food and the best quesadillas ever! The reason I think the quesadillas are so good in Oaxaca is because they are prepared with a locally made cheese called, if you can believe it - Oaxaca! I remember stopping at a food stand in the mercado. The women were mixing masa and making corn tortillas for my quesadilla right in front of me. Mmm, they smelled so good!
This meal can be made as easy as 1-2-3, with just a couple ingredients from your garden, freshly made corn tortillas and, of course, cheese (Oaxaca cheese if possible).
Here is a recipe:
Quesadilla de Flor de Calabaza
12 squash blossoms, cleaned (remove pistils)
2 Tb. fresh epazote or fresh oregano, cleaned
and coarsely chopped
1/ 2 lb. Oaxaca cheese, shredded (substitute with monterrey jack if Oaxaca is not available)
1 lb. masa harina flour (I use Maseca brand) or 6 small corn tortillas
If using masa harina, mix according to the directions on the package to make the dough. Form masa into 6 1 1/2" balls then loosely cover with a damp kitchen towel. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap (a cut up plastic bag works well) over base of tortilla press, draping it over the sides. Place 1 ball of masa on plastic. Lay another sheet of plastic wrap over the masa, draping it over the sides, then close the press to flatten masa into a tortilla. Peel the plastic from one side of the tortilla. Fill half of the tortilla with cheese, a couple of zucchini blossoms and sprinkle with epazote or oregano. Then, holding the remaining plastic with one hand, fold other half of tortilla over the filling to form a half circle. Press edges, carefully remove plastic from quesadilla, then place on a flat pan or griddle at medium heat. Cook for a few minutes on each side until cooked through and cheese has melted.
If using already made tortillas, slightly warm the tortilla. Remove from the heat, add the filling to one side of the tortilla, fold the other side over the filling and return to the griddle. Cook about 1 minute on each side or until the cheese melts.
Serve hot with your favorite salsa.