Exactly what it sounds like – flowers that have been cleaned, stuffed, breaded, and fried.
I’ve always read that you can eat the flowers from squash and zucchini. In the past, our plants haven’t really been fruitful enough to have to prune away some of the flowers so that the remaining ones will grow larger. But this year, my seed experiment is bearing some great results.
If you’re going to pick the flowers, you’re supposed to do it at midday when they’re open to the sun. Cut them a couple of inches below the flower and then twist off and discard the remaining stem.
We decided to make a basic ricotta stuffing and dredge the flowers in a batter loosely based on a recipe from Epicurious.
- 8 oz whole-milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano
- 1-2 egg yolks, depending on the size
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- enough club soda or water to make a mayonnaise-like consistency
Prune the blossoms (we cut around twenty) and gently rinse them in cold, running water to remove the dirt and bugs. There were a lot of bugs.
While the flowers are drying on a towel, combine the stuffing ingredients. When the flowers are fairly dry, you very gently work the petals open, remove and discard the stamen, and stuff some cheese into the base of the flower with the tip of a butter knife. Don’t overstuff them or the cheese will run out during the frying process. There’s a pretty good video tutorial on this process here. You’ll probably have some stuffing left over, which is a good thing. I keep mine in the freezer for baked ziti and homemade ravioli.
Once all of the squash blossoms are stuffed, you heat a half-inch of oil (I used a combination of canola and sunflower oil) in a pan over medium-high heat. I like to use a small pan for this kind of frying. The relatively small amount of oil heats up faster between batches and it allows you to waste less oil overall.
This dredging mixture is not so different from the batter used in tempura and southern-fried catfish. You want it to be thick like mayonnaise or ranch salad dressing so it coats the blossoms well enough to encase them in crust. Dredge and fry five or six at a time. They only need about a minute on each side, so don’t walk away.
Drain the blossoms on a paper towel and serve with a red sauce or a pesto or both.
These tasted good. The cooking process was a little time-intensive, but no more than making eggplant parmesan or wiener schnitzel. It’s not a substantial meal, so most people serve it as an appetizer. We served these alongside some meatballs and it made a good dinner.