Pacayas are the flowers of date palms that grow commonly in Guatemala and Salvador, and as an abundant food source are commonly used in the cuisine of these Central American countries. (An interesting side note: Pacaya also happens to be the name of Guatemala’s largest volcano, which erupted last in 2014.) If you’re curious about making pacayas, you can find them in Latino markets or online. Goya sells them in large jars.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the egg yolk and continue beating until fully incorporated. Reserve.
Blend the tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, water or vegetable broth. Reserve.
Fold in the corn flour (masa harina), salt and pepper to the egg mixture. Do not overmix to keep the volume of the mixture.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add canola oil.
Cover each pacaya flower with the egg mixture and place in the hot oil. Turn once when golden brown. (about 2 minutes). Place pacayas on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
In the same skillet, add the teaspoon of butter. Add the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until thickens. Return pacayas to the sauce, cover with cheese and serve immediately.