"Food is essential to Life; therefore make it good."- S Truett Cathy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fried Flowers!

This week at the farmers market a lovely box of squash blossoms caught my eye. I was feeling adventurous and so I decided to pick them up and have a go. As I was leaving the market I got soaked by a pretty strong downpour, so as I sat in the car waiting for it to pass I used the epicurious app on my iphone to find a recipe for what to do with them. Seems like the popular way to cook them is stuffed with cheese and fried.  Many of the notes said make sure you eat them the same day you buy them because they go bad very quickly. I had all intention of making them last night but by the time I got home the enthusiasm had passed.I went to the kitchn blog for some inspiration and decided to make them tonight as part of an all veggie night. Made some eggplant parmesan and a skillet of sauteed summer squash and tomatoes to go with them.

First challenge, removing the stamens. Not easy without damaging the petals. After ripping the first few I went and found some nail scissors and used them to reach down in the blossom and clip them off. I imagine it's a little easier to get to them when they are first picked, it would be super cool if the farmer would just de-stamen at harvest. I'd pay extra for that as this was not fun.  I stuffed them with a mixture of ricotta and asiago cheese seasoned with fresh basil, lemon zest and a few other things.

Aren't they pretty? This is stuffed waiting to be battered and fried. The batter called for 1 cup flour and 1 cup seltzer water. I had bought some seltzer water but somehow it disappeared between the store and home. I'm sure I'll find it in the back of some cupboard in a few days. I used ginger ale because that's all I had that was carbonated. I figured it'd do. I didn't notice any off taste so I guess it was ok.

Fried Flowers
1 bunch male squash blossoms (10-12)
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated asiago or parm
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
handful fresh basil chopped fine
salt/pepper to taste

for the batter
1 cup flour
tsp salt
1 cup carbonated water, beer or ginger ale!

oil for frying

Remove the stamens and outer pointed parts of stem on squash blossoms. Rinse gently to remove any debris. Allow to dry on paper towels.

Mix up cheese mixture and put it into a plastic bag, cut off a corner for easier filling.
Fill up the centers and twist the tops of the flowers.

Heat oil for frying - about 1 inch thick in a deep skillet or in your fryer if you have one.

Mix up batter, dip and fry until lightly colored on both sides (it goes quick)  in batches until all are done. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little kosher salt and serve with lemon wedges. They were pretty good but not sure worth all that effort. I could have just as easily put that same cheese mixture into some peppers and broiled them and would have been just as good. While I was googling for these I saw some squash blossom enchiladas and quesadillas that sounded good. Maybe I'll try them again someday.

Here's how the plate looked. The eggplant was actually not bad. I followed a cooksillustrated.com recipe. Sauteed zucchini and yellow squash with tomatos is a no brainer.  Decent veggie dinner.

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