Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Fried Squash Blossoms
I was going to tell you about bread today since the weather has finally cooled off a bit, and I've got a loaf in the oven right now. BUT. Squash blossoms are in season. I saw them Monday at the Central Square farmer's market and I'm sure there are a couple of weeks left, but guys... it's August.
August, meaning that it'll be September before we know it, meaning that we must gorge ourselves on summer food now, while we still can! What are you guys wolfing down right now? Corn? Tomatoes? Peaches?
You might consider adding squash blossoms to the list. The most popular way to eat them is to stuff them with something tasty and fry 'em up, which is precisely what I did here.
I did learn something cool from Zoe while I googled around on methods for stuffing and frying. You don't have to be so super careful not to rip the petals when you're cutting out the stamens, you just have to be deliberate and only tear it in one place. Then you can fold the flap over the filling and the coating will seal it shut in the frying oil. No need to twist it shut for round cylinders, flat things are easier to fry in less oil, anyway.
Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms
serves 4 as a light meal (we had salad, too)
I served these with a simple tomato sauce: finely chop a small onion, sweat in a bit of olive oil, add a minced clove of garlic, then add a 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes - I used the very last pint jar of home canned from 2010 - and simmer until thick. Add herbs (basil, oregano, marjoram) if you have them around.
one dozen squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs: basil and oregano are great, sage would be nice, I think.
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
vegetable oil for frying
Fill a big bowl with cool water.
First, prep the blossoms: remove the calyxes (little green leafy things) from the base of the flower. Slit the petal in one spot all the way down to the green part and carefully cut out the stamen. Carefully swish the flower in the water and lay it, open, on paper towels to dry. Repeat with all the blossoms and allow them to dry.
Meanwhile, get the filling ready. Mix up the ricotta with the herbs and some salt and pepper. Taste it, make sure it's good. Once the blossoms are dry, pipe or spoon in a small amount of filling into each flower. Don't overstuff! It'll just leak out and make frying more difficult. Fold the flap over the cheese.
Beat the egg in a shallow bowl until well blended, season with a little salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl season the flour, too. In a heavy skillet, heat about an 1/8 of an inch of oil over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a pinch of flour dropped in sizzles immediately. One at a time, carefully dip each filled flower in the egg, letting the excess drip off, and then into the seasoned flour, patting off excess flower so the coating is light, not clumpy. Fry until golden, a few minutes on each side, then drain on paper towels. Don't eat them right out of the pan or you'll burn your mouth on the hot cheese, make sure to give them a minute!