My need to dominate the over-abundance of zucchini in my garden continues. I walked out on Friday afternoon and there were another million zucchini ready to be picked and probably two dozen squash blossoms – gorgeous – but a little overwhelming for a home cook.
Squash blossoms. A delicacy I’ve heard. Stuffed squash blossoms. Why not try making them. Why not try it now. I had no Friday night plans. So off I went on the hunt for a simple recipe – one that required nothing more than what I had in my house. I found scores of them. What I ended up with was a simple cheese and mint stuffing and a beer batter to coat the stuffed blossoms. I also found a nice tomato sauce recipe to lay the cooked stuffed blossoms on. The blossoms were really good and really easy to make.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
(Another amalgamation of recipes from my collection of cook books and the internet)
Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1 clove of garlic minced
½ tsp of chipotle flakes or red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp good olive oil
1 ½ pounds of plum tomatoes or I used diced boxed tomatoes because I only had 2 plum tomatoes
½ cup of water
a couple of pinches of sugar
a couple pinches of salt
Tomato Sauce Directions:
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and pepper flakes and stir for about a minute but do not burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, sugar, stir. Simmer uncovered until thick about 30 minutes. It’s ok and probably a good idea to make this in advance and then just heat it up.
Squash Blossom Ingredients:
12 good-sized Squash Blossoms
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella (I used Buffalo – it was all I had)
¼ to ½ cup finely chopped mint
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
¼ cup fine cornmeal
Another 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup beer (not too heavy or dark)
flaky sea salt
vegetable oil for frying (about 3 ½ cups)
Squash Blossom Directions:
Stir together the three cheeses, mint, egg yolk, and a pinch of salt and pepper
Spoon the filling into a plastic baggie that you’ve clipped the bottom corner off of to create an opening (your home-made pastry bag).
Very gently open each blossom and squeeze in the filling. Use your judgment about how much filling to put in each blossom. Typically the blossoms are different sizes so it’s difficult to say how much in each blossom. It will change from flower to flower. After you put the filling into the blossom gently twist the end of the blossom to keep the filling in. Set the blossoms aside.
Batter and frying:
In a bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, second 1/3 cup of parmesan and 1 tsp salt. Gradually add in the beer whisking until the batter is smooth. You want the batter to be like a thick pancake batter.
Heat 1 ½ inches of oil in a deep cast-iron skillet or dutch oven over a medium-high flame. If you have a thermometer keep your eye out for 375°F. If you don’t have a thermometer then drop a little of the batter into the oil to see if it cooks quickly – it should puff up and turn golden within 25 seconds.
Dip each squash blossom into the batter and place gently into the hot oil. Repeat until your pan/pot has one layer of blossoms. Don’t crowd them. No point in doing that as they will stick together and cook unevenly – all bad. Give each stuffed blossom plenty of room. When the blossoms are done on one side – usually about 2 minutes – turn them over one by one and brown until golden on the second side.
As the blossoms finish cooking remove them from the hot oil and let them drain on several layers of paper towels.
While still hot and while the oil is still wet, sprinkle a little flaky sea salt on them (I usually use Maldon) and a few thyme leaves. You can also zest a lemon over the cooked blossoms and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serving: Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of hot tomato sauce onto each plate and place a couple of squash blossoms on top. Toss a little more fresh thyme around the plate and serve.