Squash blossom. Photo by Liddie Martinez
Liddie’s Traditional New Mexican Dishes: Squash Blossom And Green Chile Frittata
By LIDDIE MARTINEZ
All varieties of squash grow aggressively in northern New Mexico and are one of those staples in our diets that have an unusually long history in the region.
Part of the “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash), local pueblos have been cultivating squash in northern New Mexico for thousands of years.
They are well adapted to our climate and have long growing seasons. Heirloom varieties are especially hearty and are tolerant of our bouts with drought conditions. Last year I planted in a new area that had more shade than I had realized in the spring when my trees were still bare. The squash and pumpkins did not do so well but I did cash in on an extraordinary crop of squash blossoms. It was a beautiful sight to see and, while my nephews and nieces did not have their beloved pumpkin patch to roam through and judge jack-o-lantern qualities, the adults were able to feast on blossoms regularly.
I was first introduced to squash blossoms as a young teen by my mother who was an amazing cook. She found perfect blossoms in her garden and brought them in one morning and stuffed them with a breakfast scramble, a recipe I will share with you at a later date. The blossoms pair brilliantly with eggs as their flavor is quite delicate and can be overshadowed easily- not so with eggs. My favorite blossom dish last year was a frittata I conjured up from available ingredients in my garden and what a fantastic combination! It helps that my flock of chickens supplied farm fresh eggs but the blossoms really made the dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Eggs are a great base for a wide variety of ingredients and while this particular frittata was meat-free, bacon or sausage would have added an additional dimension of flavor. Just remember to use scant amounts since breakfasts meats have strong flavors. If possible, pick the flowers the morning you will use them but if you purchase them at the grocer or farmers market, inspect them and be sure they are free from major blemishes and tears. They are quite delicate and the edges will brown and become dry or brittle as they age.
6 ― large eggs
3 ― green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
5-7 ― squash blossoms
1½ cups ― Jack cheese, shredded
¼ Cup ― cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ Cup ― cream
¼ Cup ― red onions, minced
1 ― clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsps. ― butter
2 Tbsps. ― Cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse blossoms and remove stamen and stems gently. Pre-heat oven to 400° In a large bowl whisk eggs and cream until frothy then fold in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. On stove top heat cast iron skillet over medium heat, add butter and onions and sauté until the onions are transparent then add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet and stir.
Let the eggs set undisturbed for about one minute then sprinkle cilantro evenly over eggs and top with green chile, squash blossoms and tomatoes arranging in a pleasant pattern.
Put the skillet into the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and frittata has puffed.
Serve immediately with a side of fresh salsa.