I love to cook, especially for dear friends and family. One of the ways I like to thank people for things is to create a new dish for them, give them the completed recipe in beautiful serving ware accompanied by the written recipe on a card.
This is a recent thank you gift to my roommate’s mother Sarah.
Corn tortillas (about 12)
Heavy cream (half pint)
Onion (one sliced thinly into rings)
Roma tomatoes (about three)
Squash flower blossoms (1 pound), washed, stems and pistils removed so that there is just the flower
Fresh thyme and thyme flowers for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
Fry the tortillas one at a time in oil. There should be just enough oil in the pan to completely cover the tortilla. Each tortilla should be fried for about a minute on each side. They shouldn’t be hard, just fried enough to not fall apart. Day old tortillas work best.
Stack the fried tortillas on a plate and set them aside.
Chop the squash flower blossoms, onions and tomatoes. The tomatoes and onions should be thinly sliced into rounds. Saute onion in butter, about three tablespoons. Saute the onions until they are caramelized. Add tomatoes, garlic and squash flowers to the caramelized onions and add salt to taste. The butter should flavor it enough so that you don’t need much salt. Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves, about a teaspoon and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Mix the crema Mexicana (it’s like sour cream but sour cream curdles when you cook it so don’t use it) and the heavy cream into a bowl and season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a few saffron stamens. I like to take the saffron stamens and heat them first in a sauté pan just long enough to bring out the flavor. They shouldn’t change color; they should just be heated enough to release the intense flavor.
Take a tortilla and dredge it in the cream mixture on both sides and then lay it on a Pyrex baking dish. Do just enough tortillas to cover the bottom the pan and come up the sides a bit.
Scoop the squash flower blossom mixture and layer it lightly on the tortillas. Crumble the queso fresco over the squash flowers and then top with another layer of cream covered tortillas. Keep repeating until you reach the top of the pan. Your last layer should be tortillas. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the top and sprinkle with dry cotija cheese.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes. Slice like a lasagna and serve.