this was in last friday's trib "friday section";
Squash blossoms give golden moments
Margaret Sheridan and Judy Hevrdejs
July 13, 2001
Expect to hear the laments of gardeners in a month or so as they puzzle over what to do with bushels of squash. Right now, though, the precursors of that bounty are the squash's golden blossoms. Several cultures -- Native Americans and Italians, to name just two -- use the pale yellow-orange flowers in cooking.
Our initiation to eating squash blossoms came in Mexico, where they are called flores de calabaza (floar-ace day kah-lah-BAH-sa). The pale yellow-orange blossoms, usually from hard-shelled squash, are lightly chopped and sometimes sauteed before adding to soup or tucked in the tortilla-and-cheese turnover called a quesadilla. The taste is somewhat mild, like a lightly cooked napa cabbage. We enjoyed them rolled inside crepes with a mild sauce.
Here in Chicago, chef Rick Bayless says he is waiting for local farmers to provide him with the season's bounty -- any day now -- before he puts them on the menu at Frontera Grill/Topolobampo (445 N. Clark St., 312-661-1434), often in soups and quesadillas. The blossoms occasionally show up on the menu at other Mexican restaurants around town, including in a soup at Chilpancingo (358 W. Ontario St., 312-266-9525) and in quesadillas at Maiz (1942 W. Division St., 773-862-1801). Call to check. The blossoms are a regular menu item at Quesadillas Dona Lolis (6924 N. Clark St., 773-761-5677), where we enjoyed one of their footlong quesadillas ($2.76) that tucks cheese plus a handful of chopped and seasoned blossoms inside a slightly crisped corn tortilla.
I see them at our local farmer's market-- downtown Evanston. Park in the big garage at Church and Maple (I think) and walk northwest. Hard to miss. Come early Saturday morning (opens 6.45 or so) and try the organic farmers at the east end. Henry Brockman is a good one. Though it might be knid of late for blossoms. Luck.