Get ‘Em While They’re Fresh

July 11, 2007 at 11:28 am 15 comments

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First and foremost, I must give credit where credit is due for this post. My dear friend Angie submitted this recipe to me.  If she hadn’t, I don’t think I would have 1) looked for such a recipe and 2) felt as though I could even attempt it.  But Angie has always been an excellent mentor, never steering me wrong, so I went ahead and dove into it.  And now I suddenly feel so accomplished!  I made something I thought only restaurants make.  After all, how many times have any of us come to the call of “Dinner’s ready!” to find fried squash blossoms filled with herbed goat cheese?  I certainly haven’t had the pleasure before. 

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Readers extraordinaire, you must give this recipe a try if you can get your hands on some fresh squash blossoms.  It wasn’t nearly as hard as one might think to make these delicate and tasty beauties.

Indeed, the beauty and the flaw of this dish are the squash blossoms themselves.  First, they are not a common supermarket find.  Second, if you do find them but you don’t get them very very fresh and take good care to keep them cool and moist, they get rather difficult (read: rubbery) to handle (although you can still make it work).   That being said, I know there are some of you out there dutifully growing squash plants in your tiny urban plots/pots or, for those luckier ducks, in your large kitchen gardens.  You, my friends, have no excuse not to give this one a go.  In fact, I think you owe it to those that don’t have easy squash blossom access to put your good fortune to use.

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How, pray tell, does one harvest a squash blossom?  Since squash develop from the blossoms, you don’t want to pick the “female” blossoms that are found low and in the center of the plant.  Rather, pick the “male” blossoms that are on long slender stems higher up in the plant.  You’ll easily be able to tell the difference once you’re actually looking at a squash plant.

So, thank you, Angie, for this great recipe suggestion!  Let me know when you can stop over and try some for yourself!  As for the rest of you, let me know how yours turn out.  I’m already hankering for another batch myself…

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FRIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS STUFFED WITH HERB CHEESE
Submitted by Angie Yingst and adapted from Chez Panisse menu

12 large squash blossoms
8 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. finely minced fresh herbs (thyme, basil, chives, sage, or others)
1 large shallot, finely minced
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. corn meal mix (look for one that includes salt and baking powder) or masa harina (available in some larger stores)
Freshly ground pepper
1 c. vegetable oil

cheese-stuffing-for-squash-blossoms.jpgPlace the goat cheese in a small bowl.  Mix in the minced herbs, shallots and salt.  Mixture will come together easier if the cheese is at room temperature.  Once mixed, cover and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until firm again. 

Prepare your “assembly line” by beating the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl.  Place corn meal mix or masa harina in another shallow bowl and mix in the freshly ground pepper.   If blossoms have not already been prepped, gently remove all but a small tip of the stem and look closely for any dirt or insects.  If you find anything, gently wipe clean with a damp towel.

When cheese mixture is firm, take teaspoon size amounts and roll into small balls with your hands the way you would chilled cookie dough.*  Place a cheese ball into the center of each blossom and twist the ends of the petals together to fully enclose the cheese. 

Dip each blossom into the egg mixture.  Let excess drip off.  Quickly and gently roll blossom in dry mixture, shaking excess off.  Set blossoms in refrigerator until ready to fry. 

Place vegetable oil in a skillet and heat to approximately 350 degrees or until a tiny pinch of corn meal dropped in produces a good sizzle.  Carefully place half the blossoms into the hot oil.  Turn them over to brown evenly on all sides.  When golden brown, remove and place on a paper towel to drain.  Bring oil back up to temperature and fry the remaining blossoms. 

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve immediately with any leftover cheese as a garnish in the center of the plate. 

*I did not actually use this balling method myself, but will be sure to next time.  I didn’t think of it until I was done with this batch.  When I made my blossoms, I kept thinking how much easier it would be if I had a second pair of hands to hold open the blossom while I scooped up the cheese and put it in.  By making little cheese balls beforehand, you can quickly insert the cheese with a lot less fuss.

(makes 12, serves 4)

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Entry filed under: Purely Vegetables, Recipes. Tags: .

We Broke A Record Feels Like Elementary School All Over Again

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brooke  |  July 11, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    I’m so jealous! I have wanted to do a recipe like this for the longest time, but haven’t been able to get my hands on some squash blossoms! Hopefully I will be able to find some and try something like this🙂 Lovely post.

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  July 11, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    I hope you can find some, Brooke. They really are fun and delicious. Are there any community gardens near you? Perhaps you could buy some off a gardener there. Let me know if you can find them!

    Reply
  • 3. taylor  |  July 11, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Quite lovely! Just stuffing the flowers with cheese and not frying is even prettier, in my opinion. I would never go through the trouble of doing either,so…kudos to you.

    Reply
  • 4. angie  |  July 11, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    they turned out so beautifully. great job, farm girl. Plus, I’ll stop over anytime to eat that yumminess.

    Reply
  • 5. Valli  |  July 11, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    This really is a recipe made in heaven. When I was in Greece last Spring they were often on the menu, but, they were always sold out!!My last 8 days were spent on the island of Kea at Keartisanal cooking school. We would pick the blossoms from Aglaia’s garden and stuff them with mint and feta cheese. Truly “droolworthy”!!

    Reply
  • 6. Jennie  |  July 12, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Taylor – You’re no doubt right that the blossoms would have looked prettier just stuffed and not fried. But, alas, I’m a girl that loves fried foods! 🙂 Thanks for the kudos!

    Angie – thanks again for the recipe submission. Feel free to push my creative envelop any time!

    Valli – So glad you “stopped by”- I love your blog! So jealous you learned how to make these at a cooking school in Greece. I never even thought to find such a school when I was there. Note to self for next trip: take a cooking class. Second note to self: Do blossoms again with feta cheese. I’m drooling already…

    Reply
  • 7. radish  |  July 12, 2007 at 9:28 am

    I just made these, but i gave them a simple egg/flour bath and then fried them – they were so simple and delicious. I’d like to do the ricotta stuffed ones next time, but i was just craving these as they were!

    Reply
  • 8. Jennie  |  July 16, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Radish – I’m planning another batch myself with feta cheese and finely diced tomato. So glad you enjoyed making some yourself. Keep me posted on any noteworthy variations.

    Reply
  • 9. Rachel  |  July 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Made these the other day with ricotta, tomato, basil, and oregano and dipped them in breadcrumbs, not cornmeal. Not a huge fan of fried food, only made 5, but they were good-even Nathan had some.
    Have always wanted to try something like this. They’ll probably be a once a summer dish for us. Thanks for the step by step–like which blossoms to pick!🙂

    Reply
  • 10. Jennie  |  July 20, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Rachel- You made them! Yaay! Ricotta seems to be the way most folks are going. How did the breadcrumbs hold up? I don’t know if Nathan is a good “test” for their goodness since that kid will eat *anything*. 🙂

    Reply
  • 11. Noodling a New Idea « Straight from the Farm  |  August 9, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    […] course, the blossoms are delicious too, as I found out earlier this summer.  A customer at Headhouse told me they are also served in Italy on pizza with […]

    Reply
  • 12. kelly  |  December 31, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    you don’t know me, but thanks for this recipe. i have been fortunate to have these in restaurants, and evenmore fortunate to have found fresh squash blossoms at my farmer’s market yesterday! i’m making these tonight.

    Reply
  • 13. Flower Power « Straight from the Farm  |  July 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

    […] Nasturtiums are another favorite.  My two small plants have more than quadrupled in size over the past two months, making their flowers a frequent and welcomed peppery addition to my salads.  They’re also great in butter and cheese spreads.  I’m getting so many of them, some quite large, I’m also thinking about stuffing them with soft cheese the way I do with squash blossoms.  […]

    Reply
  • 14. Nico  |  June 23, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    These are great – but heavy. Traditionally – as my Nona Tina made them (we made both versions the other night) – the blossoms are not stuffed – just quickly fried in oil in a flour salt & water baste – not breaded. Both turned out excellent – one more like a “popper” stuffed and more filling – the unstuffed version was lighter and crispy. We have the luxury of trying different versions as our garden is overflowing with blossoms right now. I suggest doing a comparison!

    Reply
  • 15. Barbara Youlio  |  January 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I use to grow zucchini when I lived in the suburbs. The blossom used is the male flower that bears no zucchini. I would pick the blossoms in the morning before the sun was above the plant. I would mix up egg, flour, salt, pepper, chopped small amount of parsley, and parmesan cheese. I’d dip the flower blossoms in the batter and fry in olive oil. I have fond memories of bringing them outside in my backyard to my mom, who is no longer alive, and seeing her smiling face at the site of them. She loved them and was proud that I made them without her recipe. It brings a smile to my face right now. I want to be able to buy the blossoms on line but no luck. Barbara from near West Point, NY.

    Reply

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