Squash Blossom Quesadillas, Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza

These quesadillas are nothing like the Americanized cheddar and flour tortilla variety. They are imbued with the subtle squashy flavor of zucchini blossoms, the sweetness of red onions and summer corn. You can also add roasted poblano chiles, which are a common compliment to squash blossoms. I used a mozarella cheese made by a Mexican quesero (cheesmaker) since no quesillo de oaxaca could be found, it was just fine since it was subtle and melted beautifly, stretchy and soft. Keep the flavors mellow so they don’t over power the blossom that are the star of this dish! xogabriela

Green Market Fresh Squash Blossoms

During the high months of summer, peacocks perch on the coyote fence surrounding a small vegetable garden in my parent’s backyard.  Pea shoots and green bean creepers climb up the timber, while squash blossoms begin to bloom.  Since I am neither at home nor have the real estate for a garden, I rely on the NYC Greenmarket for such summer delicacies.

This week the indulgences were sunflowers and squash blossoms. The former came from working the fresh flower stand at the Tucker Square Green Market, the later was a gift from a generous fellow vendor of Locust Grove Fruit Farm who would not allow me to pay for the precious, edible blooms!

Removing the stems and stamen

I was careful to keep the squash blossoms shaded and cool as I finished my shift, because I know how quickly they wilt. But, in my exhaustion and absent mindedness from working the early hours of that Saturday, I put them in the fridge and decided to go for a swim, convincing myself that I would cook them that evening. Instead we ate fried chicken. And…well, the next day was Fourth of July, corn dogs and Coney Island were on the agenda so the blossoms remained forgotten in the fridge. Monday was too darn hot to cook – I’ll admit it, we ordered a pizza. So I didn’t get around to cooking them until Tuesday night!

If you’ve had squash blossoms, you know that after they’re plucked they should be used as soon as possible. I was lucky,  my fridge must have been at just the right temperature and humidity because my blossoms were still fresh and supple. So last night I made Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza.

I used  blossoms from a summer varieties of squash like zucchini, since I’ve been told the hard winter squash blossoms have a less palatable, bitter flavor. Both male and female blooms are edible, although male blooms are more commonly harvested allowing the females to bear fruit.

They have been used in ancient Mexican and American Indian dishes such as Sopa de Flor de Calabaza or Squash Blossom Stew. They’re also used in more colonial dishes such as the French influenced Mexican crepe, Budín de Flor de Calabaza. And in Spain and Italy they’re commonly stuffed with goat cheese and fried.

These blossoms have a slightly sweet, more delicate flavor of a mature squash and a silken texture. I’ve heard them described as tasting like “squash perfume”.

squash blossom quesadillas

Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza

10-12 fresh squash blossoms
12 corn tortillas
1/2 red onion
2 sprigs, about 1 Tablespoon pungent herb such as epazote, racao/culantro or cilantro
1 ear of corn husked, kernals removed,  about 3/4 cup frozen corn thawed
1/2 pound, about 6 quarter-inch thick slices asaderoquesillo Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
olive oil
salt to taste

Prepare blossoms by removing stamen and stems. Gently wash under cold water and pat dry. Chop the blossoms, red onion  and  pungent herb so they are uniform in size, similar to the corn. Heat one teaspoon olive oil in a pan. Add onions and sautee until aromatic and slightly translucent, about 2 minute on medium-high heat. Add corn, blossoms and herb and sautee for another 2 minutes, promptly remove from heat. The goal is for the veggies to be tender but slightly crisp. Salt  to taste.

Slice cheese into six, quarter-inch thick pieces, they should fit with a bit of room around the edge of the tortilla. Brush each tortilla with some olive oil. Place a slice of  cheese and about 2 tablespoons of the sauteed vegetable between two tortillas. Grill on a comal or griddle on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side, until tortillas become speckled brown and the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with salsa, beans or avocado.

15 Responses to “Squash Blossom Quesadillas, Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza”
  1. Robin says:

    You make me regret not planting squash this year. I gave up the space for a swingset for my daughter. Looks like I will find a spot next year 🙂

    • gabriellemarielopez says:

      Hi Robin, A swingset is a good reason to give up the space for squash…hope you find a place for them in your garden next year! Thanks for the tweet!

  2. Sophia says:

    I could totally eat cheese and bread in any form, especially quesadillas. They’re so easy to make and they really fill me up. Your recipe looks delicious. I usually make these Quick Chicken Quesadillas – http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/quick_chicken_quesadillas.htm – I love them!

  3. The Cilantropist says:

    Those squash blossoms look amazing! Beautiful photos. 🙂

  4. Elaine says:

    Gaby!! We are harvesting squash blossoms right now at the farm! I miss you and love reading about all your fabulous tricks. Please come to visit sometime, if you ever have the time, están invitados con mucho placer en cualquier momento, sabes qué?! Saludos to Alex and the perrito de mi parte, I love ya! xx

  5. Hola Gabriela,

    Your quesadillas look very inviting. Squash blossoms have such a delicate flavor are are easily overpowered. They take a delicate hand, which you have. Lovely photos, also.
    I wish I could buy sweet corn, but it does not seem to exist in Mexico.


  6. gloria says:

    Hi Gabriela. I have so many zukes in my garden right now. In fact I just did a post on zukes. For as long as we have been our own gardeners, I have never tried the flower. I am definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks. Have a great rest of the week.

  7. Karen says:

    These sound so good… I love quesdillas… you can just put anything in a good tortilla and it’s delicious. We have zucchini plants in the garden… I hope when they start flowering I can try this!

  8. Cara says:

    These are gorgeous and I’m so intrigued! I had what seemed like dozens of squash blossoms on my summer squash a few weeks ago; now everything is quite wilted. I’ll have to watch carefully for them to return because it would be a shame not to try them, right?

    • You’re so lucky to have a garden. Snips some early in the morning before they wilt – you will be so glad you did!

      • Ruzik says:

        Somehow I missed this in my blog htiuas. I think that it is a fabulous idea. I can’t wait to see what your participants do! It is so gratifying to see what others do with the pieces of you that you give to them. Maybe some month down the road a bit I can play along.Enjoy the day!Erin

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Haven’t tried any squash blossoms yet, but as more keep popping up my mind keeps turning to thoughts of squash blossom quesadillas… […]

  2. […]  TO SMOTHER: Squash blossoms are abundant in Mexico, where they are known as flores de calabaza. There’s something very satisfying about the combination of the mildly sweet, squash-y blossoms with creamy cheese. Sqaush soup with squash blossoms on top chilled or heated is another summer favorite. […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by gabriellemarielopez, gabriellemarielopez. gabriellemarielopez said: My blossoms http://tinyurl.com/2gx3uuh getting more to try urs! RT @Rick_Bayless Last night's dinner squash blossoms http://moby.to/4sba1z […]

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