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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Classic culinary beauty

   I had heard a little about squash blossoms from a friend,little did I know how beautiful and tasty they would be. And really... stuffed and fried squash blossoms,where can you go wrong. My friend mentioned that they were only available for a few weeks in the beginning of the summer and a real culinary treat. I visit the farmers markets here in town most weekends and wasn't even on the look out for anything but pickling cucumbers( more on that in a few days). So this past saturday,I go to the downtown farmers market to pick up those pickling cucumbers and some gorgeous wildflowers .I am walking towards the exit and stop at this table full of produce. Well ta-da! guess what was sitting there in a clear plastic to-go container,...(i'll give you time) ok beautiful golden orange SQUASH BLOSSOMS! Yep that moment was priceless and I was immediately under some spell. I give the nice man my money,mutter something about how I've been wanting to cook these for some time ( he just smiled and took my money,...huh) and I tuck them in my bag and I had to hold my self back from skipping all the way to the car (that would have been something to see!).


   I searched the web for a simple stuffed and fried squash blossom recipe and came upon this one.It's on  a pretty great website http://www.thekitchn.com/ . They taste like squash,smell like squash (nothing floral about these gems but the shape) and when you bite in a fresh fried blossom the slight crunch of phyllo comes to mind. Now here we go: get yourself a big glass of iced tea or a glass of wine and get ready to enjoy classic summer appetizer in the making.


Fried Squash Blossoms
Ingredients:
3/4 c cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (i.e. Lawry's)
1/2 c water
1 egg-slightly beaten
10-15 squash blossoms
1/2 c whole-milk ricotta ( i used low-fat,made no huge difference)
1/4 c mayo
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBL bread crumbs
Vegetable oil
salt & pepper,to taste
Directions:
-First make the batter: combine the first 5 ingredients(cornstarch,baking powder,black pepper,flour and seasoned salt) in a mixing bowl . Next add in the water and the egg, stir until smooth.Store in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
-Carefully separate the petals and with a pair of thin scissors,point the scissors down into the flower and snip out the pistil,turn over the flower and just shake it out,then set it aside. These flowers are pretty darn fragile,so be gently.Next mix together the stuffing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Combine the ricotta,mayo,oregano, and bread crumbs. Gently hold open the flower and spoon in about 1 TBL of the stuffing into the middle of the flower. (I used the slimmest spoon I could find and just kind of let the batter fall into the body of the flower.) Next,gently close the petals and twist the top of flower petals closed.
-Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet,pouring in enough oil to just cover the top of the flowers.Get the batter out of the fridge,dip each flower in the batter and coat completely in batter. Place the battered flower down in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. (In my skillet I could get 4 flowers without crowding them).
  Stuffed and fried squash blossoms are a real treat,a classic culinary beauty if you will. Enjoy!

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