Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I saw a segment on Mario Batali's old show a while back with stuffed squash blossoms and they just looked so delicious that I decided I had to make them. The problem I encountered was actually *finding* squash blossoms.... 

Last year I actually found them in my mom's mini squash patch. She didn't even know what little treasures she had cultivated. Since then, I have managed to find them at my local farmer's market, and I have tried out a few different filling combinations. The recipe I have posted here is with ricotta cheese. I have also tried this with goat cheese, cream cheese, and a combination thereof. 

I found that when I used only goat cheese, the cheese overpowered everything else both in terms of flavor and texture. I liked the cream cheese, it was nice and creamy and ended up being all gooey and warm when fried. The combination of the two also worked, just watch your goat:cream cheese ratio... I used the same herbs (basil and parsley) with those cheeses, but you can really do whatever you want. These blossoms are pretty much a blank canvas.

Here are the lovely flowers pre-prep. You want to make sure you open the blossoms and rinse them out- also remove the stamen (as gently as possible.) Lay them out on a paper towel and let them dry for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, mix chosen cheese (In this case, for 4 blossoms, I used 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta) with chopped basil and parsley. Toss in S&P to taste, and a bit of fresh parm for good measure.

Gently open the blossoms as much as possible and stuff  with the mixture. Depending on the consistency, you may want to place the mixture in a pastry bag and pipe it in. You could also us a plastic sandwich bag- just snip off the tip and you have a handy piping tool. My ricotta was actually relatively firm, so I just plopped it in using a spoon.

Once you have shoved a sufficient amount of cheesy goodness into the blossom, pull the ends together and gently twist them closed:

Once filled, you can batter them however you decide. I find that I prefer  a light, tempura-style batter. It is remarkably easy to make: Take 1/4 cup of flour and add 2 tbsp of cold soda water. The bubbles do a little something special to the batter:

You can add a bit more soda or flour as needed to achieve the right batter consistency. Take each blossom and coat completely in the batter. Keeping the stems intact can help during this step.

 Heat your oil to 375 degrees. Fry the blossoms until they are a light golden brown (with this batter, they won't get super dark, so don't keep cooking them hoping for a big color change.) They should end up looking a little like this:

However, because the blossoms are so delicate, keep in mind they can also end up looking like this: :)

So at this point, take the remaining, non-exploded blossoms and enjoy. I served them with Red lettuce salad with figs, goat cheese, prosciutto and  a balsamic vinaigrette. With the fattiness of the cheese and fry, the acidity of the balsamic provided a nice contrast... I'll post the recipe for the salad shortly, it's one of my new favorites. These would also go nicely with a really simple marinara sauce.
Buon Appetito!

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