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219/366: Frying Stuffed Squash Blossoms

 

So here is the recipe...

 

Be warned...I am incapable of reading one recipe and following it... Each cooking session requires research (hah!) and the comparison of several recipes in order to discern what is essential and what is optional... I never seem to have everything on hand, and sometimes it matters... yadda yadda...

 

Being confronted in my much-too-long-neglected garden with a blight (several I think) on my squash (and a threat to all the curcurbits), I proceeded to yank it all out and dispose of it with the trash (fearing even to add it to the compost)...

 

I was only able to salvage the squash blossoms, fresh and untouched by root rot or powdery mildew or squash bugs or any of the terrors which had taken over during my month-and-a-half blind eye... The zuchini and yellow squash and butternut were all producing quite a few of these way beyond their allotted space and deep into the yard in a last ditch effort to survive... I had quite a few of these, more than double what each recipe called for, but smaller...

 

I had heard squash blossoms were edible, but had never tasted them or cooked them... However, despite my mother's best efforts to discourage this, I have learned to fry, and have learned from working in restaurants, and from both Southern (American) cooking and Japanese tempura that you can fry just about anything and it's yummy and even kids will eat it, and it will fortify you for a day weeding the garden :-) ... So, I fry...

 

Of course, I consulted several sources before trying this with squash blossoms for the first time...

 

Short Story...

it's simple...

some squash blossoms, your favorite stuffing, your favorite batter, your favorite frying method, perhaps a dipping sauce for serving...

 

CAVEAT: Don't pick the squash blossoms until you are ready to clean and cook... Once they are wet they wilt ... Only a couple of authors recommended blanching before stuffing... If you choose to blanche, do so VERY lightly, a few seconds - 30 seconds is too long - and ice immediately. I overblanched and the blossoms were very hard to work with... Some authors said to remove the pistil from the male flowers, and some did not. I saw no reason and did not do this... As far as I know there are no ill effects from eating the pistil of the flower... You will recognize the female flower by the small developing squash at the base... These are good to fry too... Small fruits cook through and are crispy, mild, and tasty similar to lotus root, sweet potato, or potato...

 

Long Story follows:

 

See - The 99 Cent Chef - the99centchef.blogspot.com/2011/06/stuffed-squash-blossom...

 

See Also - The Kitchn - www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fried-squash-blossoms-57209, and www.thekitchn.com/five-ways-to-eat-squash-blosso-87564

 

See Also - edible Green Mountains - www.ediblecommunities.com/greenmountains/recipes/appetize...

 

and Google will provide more recipes than you could read in a year...

 

My comments for a simplified basic recipe...

  

Stuffing:

 

2 oz. cream cheese ( or ricotta, goat, etc...) - readily available, this is tasty and wholesome and also serves as a conventient binder for the blossoms and medium for other flavorings - be conscious of differences in water content and adjust remaining ingredients appropriately

 

2 oz. hard pungent cheese (asiago or parmesan, sharp cheddar, or "Mexican" mix), shredded

 

1 green onion (or shallots, or garlic clove), chopped fine or minced

 

other herbs or spices (I chose Tarragon from my garden to go with Asiago... also might try cumin + paprika + cayenne + cheddar/Mexican mix )... if you select only mild cheeses, you might want to add a little lemon or vinegar for a pleasing tartness that will brighten the blossoms after frying... a little heat from cayenne is also nice...

 

salt (sea is my favorite) & pepper (freshly ground is best), coarse or fine for either, to taste

 

Blend all together in the most convenient way... food processor for speed and smoothness... other methods have worked for 1000s of years... Chill in refrigerator while preparing batter and blossoms. This can be prepared a day or so in advance...

  

Batter:

 

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup wheat flour (all-purpose)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 - 3/4 cup beer (or water or sparkling water or maybe even something lemony but not sweet?)

1 egg

salt & pepper to taste

 

Mix all ingredients together for a fritter batter (thinner than a pancake batter) and chill if not using immediately.

  

Procedure:

 

Prepare the stuffing and chill.

Prepare the batter and chill (not too far in advance).

Pick, wash, and drain squash blossoms.

Squeeze the stuffing into the squash blossoms with a plastic baggy, pastry bag, or similar. Twist the blossoms closed at the ends.

Dust the squash blossoms with flour.

Preheat vegetable oil (c. 1/4 inch across the bottom) in an iron skillet to c. 350 degrees F.

Dip the blossoms in batter and fry in vegetable oil; drain on towels.

Eat!

   

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Taken on August 6, 2012