July at the Markets: Summer harvest is in full stride now at the Alexandria/DC markets, with sweet corn, summer squash, and the first heirloom tomatoes making their debut. Blueberries and raspberries will soon be gone, and early varieties of apples are already turning up.
I intended to make Oyamel’s squash blossom soup with my recent market bounty, but instead decided to make a succotash to fill some buckwheat crepes. Sort of a repeat of last summer’s Chesapeake Crepes, with the addition of okra and the blossoms. I picked up okra and multicolored jalapeños at Sunday’s West End Alexandria Market, and the squash blossoms I scored two-for-one from Westmoreland Berry Farm as it was getting close to closing time. The bicolor sweet corn came from Long Meadow Farm at last Wednesday’s King Street Market.
Cooking with squash blossoms: Sure squash blossoms look pretty and have a heady sweet fragrance that screams summer, but are you wondering what to actually do with them? They have a mild flavor that benefits from a simple preparation – stuffed with goat cheese or ricotta and quickly fried is a classic Italian dish, but you can also use them in soups or other dishes more like an herb. The blossoms are very delicate and are best used the day of purchase. If you don’t get to them that day, be sure to put them in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook them, pull the flower open gently to avoid ripping and be on the lookout for little, uh, critters (the downside of buying organic) while you pinch and gently remove the stamen. Then carefully fill and fry or bake for stuffed blossoms, or slice them up for this recipe.
Recipe: Squash Blossom Succotash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ears corn, kernels removed
- 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 pint okra, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 4 squash blossoms, thinly sliced
- 4 leaves basil, torn
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Instructions: Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add corn and jalapeño and cook several minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add okra. Cook 3-4 minutes until corn is beginning to brown and okra is just tender. Stir in tomato, squash blossoms and basil and cook 1 additional minute, then remove from heat. Sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.
To make crepes: prepare buckwheat crepe batter and cook crepes on one side. Flip and sprinkle cooked side with grated cheddar cheese and a large spoonful of succotash. Cook about a minute and fold, then remove from heat. I folded the toddler’s in half like a quesadilla. He doesn’t usually eat tomatoes and had never eaten okra, but he devoured this and asked for more. I have to give credit to Mr. Tom’s cheese, it makes everything go down easier. Enjoy!
More squash blossom recipes:
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters by Alice Q. Foodie
- Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza by Masa Assasin
- Ravioli with Basil, Squash Blossoms and Ricotta by Wandering Chopsticks
- Squash Blossom Risotto by the NY Times
Farmers Market Week is coming! National Farmers Market Week begins Sunday, August 2. Visit a farmers market near you and let me know what’s new! See something unusual? Ask here and I’ll tell you what to do with it.