We're in a record drought in California. Luckily, many of the plants in my garden are drought-tolerant and have actually been thriving thanks to consecutive days, weeks and months of dry, hot sunlight.
I've lived in my house now for a year and a half. This summer was the first time I saw a bloom appear atop the giant yucca tree in front of my house. When I first saw the bud, I thought someone had littered a rag or ball of tissue on it (people are always littering in my yard).
But in a few days it unfurled into quite a show.
As I was sweeping up the leaves in my front yard, my El Salvadorian neighbor told me that that flower, flor de izote, is the national flower of her country. She also told me that the flower is edible and her mom used to make it all the time. I was so intrigued.
A week passed and I had an afternoon I could dedicate to cooking, so I did some research online and watched a lot of Youtube videos. It seems the most common way was to make it with onions, tomatoes and eggs. But I am unfortunately not an egg eater, so I decided to make flor de izote con chorizo instead of con huevos.
Fate was on my side as I snagged the one and only chorizo bag 4505 Meat brought out to the farmers market that day. I also stocked up on some onions, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, tortillas and garlic.
I was sad to have to actually cut the bloom off, but it was time (I could see some of the flowers were already starting to wilt).
Now onto the recipe.
Flor de Izote con Chorizo
6 cups of flor de izote petals
1/2 lb of chorizo
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 white or red onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeño, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 avocados, quartered
4-6 flour tortillas
2 tbsp sour cream
1. Remove petals from the pistil. Carefully make sure that the stamen are also discarded. They tend to be bitter.
I ended up with about 6 cups of petals.
2. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the petals and boil for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile get your ingredients together.
Chop tomatoes, onion, jalapeño.
4. Strain the petals.
5. In a heavy pot, add 3 tbsp of EVOO and saute the tomatoes, onions and garlic for about 5 min on high. Mix frequently.
6. Add the chorizo and saute for another 3 min on high. Mix well. Turn down the heat to low.
7. Add the flowers into the mix and gently fold all ingredients together. Continue to mix well. Turn off heat.
8. Plate alongside avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
Washi and I ate this in silence in lightening speed. I thought we would have leftovers, but I turned out to be very wrong about that. By itself, the filling was a little bitter, but with the addition of avocado and sour cream, wrapped in a warm tortilla, the bitterness disappeared. The texture was a little like artichoke and firm cabbage. It tasted a bit like green beans and asparagus. It definitely had a legume-like element to it.
After it was all over, I was sad that I would have to wait another year or two to have this gift from my yard again.
I look forward for this drought to be over, but I am grateful that one of the by-products of the drought was this delicious flower.