Midsummer always gives us an abundance of flor de calabaza (squash flowers) to be used in the kitchen. Prepared as sopa de guias (squash vine soup), quesadillas, or stuffed with cheese, these flowers are delicious and are readily available in many Mexican markets. Did you know that only the male flowers are harvested? The female flowers are left to develop squash.
You might like to try this Mexico Cooks! recipe in your own kitchen.
Flor de Calabaza Estilo Cristina
Squash Flowers, Cristina's Style
1 or 2 large bunches flor de calabaza, washed and patted dry
1 medium white onion
4 chiles poblano
2 large russet or other large white potatoes
Sea salt to taste
Vegetable oil or half vegetable oil, half bacon grease for frying.
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil until fork-tender. Drain, allow to dry, and reserve.
Roast chiles according to your preferred method until the skin is blistered and they are well-blackened. Sweat for 10 minutes in a closed plastic bag. Remove skin. Slice each chile lengthwise to remove seeds. Dice peppers in 1/2” squares.
Rough-chop flor de calabaza into 1 1/2" pieces.
In a large sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil until it shimmers. While the oil is heating, shake the reserved potatoes in flour and salt in a plastic bag.
Sauté onions in oil or oil/bacon grease mixture. Add the potatoes and sauté until crisp and pale golden, adding oil if needed. Add the diced chiles and continue to sauté for about 1 minute.
Add the flor de calabaza and sauté just until tender.
Add sea salt to taste.
Serves 2-3 as a side dish.
Late in the spring, we were invited to attend the opening of El Rebozo: Made in Mexico at Mexico City's extraordinary Museo Franz Mayer. The exhibition, which was originally mounted in London, featured both old and new rebozos (long rectangular shawls) as well as some other typical Mexican garments. One of the many rebozos in the exhibit was an exquisitely embroidered shawl from Oaxaca. This is a detail of that rebozo.
This photograph of Evita Perón, wife of Argentina's Juan Domingo Perón during his first term as president of that country, was part of an exhibit at Mexico City's Museum of Modern Art (MAM) during the spring and summer. The photograph formed part of an exhibition of the works of Giselle Freund, a self-taught photographer who worked in Argentina and Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s.
This tiny ironwood mortar and pestle (the mortar is only about 2" high) comes from the state of Sonora, in northern Mexico. It is made specifically for use at the table, for a diner to grind one or two chiles chiltepín, which are highly spicy and famously used to season certain dishes from the cuisine of that state.
Chile chiltepín from Sonora. Each chile is tiny but extremely picante. Photo courtesy Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.
Beautiful ceremonial tortillas from the state of Guanajuato. The tortillas are made in the usual way and are then stamped prior to baking with a wooden stamp dipped in vegetable dye. Mexico Cooks! was privileged to see these twice this summer, first at an event at the Escuela de Gastronomía Mexicana in Mexico City and again at the Primer Encuentro Nacional de Cocineras Tradicionales (First National Meeting of Traditional Cooks) in Morelia, Michoacán.
This is the tamarillo or tomate del árbol (tree tomato), a native of the South American Andes. Each fruit is approximately 2.5" long. The flesh is fairly firm and deeply flavorful, both sweet and earthy. You never know what you'll see when you take a Mexico Cooks! tour--our group found these delicious fruits at a downtown Mexico City market.
Come back next week for more summertime wanderings with Mexico Cooks!. Our summer was far too interesting for just one article!
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