Posts Tagged ‘squash blossoms’

At Market: How to Fry Squash Blossoms

Monday, June 11th, 2012

This past weekend, the husband and tot hit up the new Westover Farmers Market in Arlington. It was near the end of the market so I didn’t have high hopes for too many goodies, but was pleasantly surprised when they brought home a basket of squash blossoms and sour cherries. Edible flowers are always fun to share with kids, but flowers that you stuff with cheese and fry? Talk about hitting the jackpot. The foodie tot had a lot of fun “helping” me prep them for frying. Of course, she was booted from the kitchen for the actual cooking.

foodie tot loves squash blossoms

Squash blossoms are best eaten the day you buy them. After your toddler holds up each one for its photo opp (or maybe that’s just mine…), gently pry open the petals, check for intruders,* and reach inside and pinch the base of the stamen to remove it. (*I’m no fan of insects on my supper, but this is a good time to mention to the kids that we buy organic foods that aren’t sprayed with bug-killing chemicals. You can’t blame a bug for being drawn to the same pretty, fragrant flowers that we are!)

how to fry squash blossoms

I mixed fresh Blue Ridge Dairy ricotta with a little nutmeg, salt and black pepper. You can use some finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or oregano, if you have them but I like to keep it simple. The batter is simply flour, milk and another pinch of salt. After gently spooning the filling into each flower, give the end a gentle twist to hold in the good stuff.

Frying them takes just a few minutes — then let them cool a little on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Be sure to eat while still warm!

fried ricotta squash blossoms

Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

  1. Fill high-walled frying pan with 1/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat (to 350 degrees if you have a thermometer).
  2. Pick over and remove stamens from blossoms. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, nutmeg, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, milk and another pinch of salt until smooth.
  5. Holding blossom by the stem end, gently fill with a teaspoon full of ricotta mixture. Give the petal ends a gentle twist to hold in the filling. Repeat until all are filled.
  6. Quickly swirl the stuffed blossoms through the batter and gently transfer to pan. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown — about 3-5 minutes, total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly before serving.

~

What’d the kids think? The boy took a bite, then paused to ask, “Did this use to be a plant?” The tot ate the middle section of hers. Have you ever eaten squash blossoms with your kids?

Aside from frying, you can also use squash blossoms in soup or my squash blossom succotash, or bake them for a healthier take. And if you’re in the Northeast, check out Narrangasett Creamery ricottas, reviewed over on Cheese and Champagne today.

At Market: Squash Blossom Succotash (and get ready for Farmers Market Week!)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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:

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.

Squash Blossoms Rellena de Oyamel

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

While we unfortunately weren’t able to actually eat at Oyamel during their Squash Blossom Festival last week, there was no way I was going to miss Chef Joe Raffa’s demo and tasting at the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market Thursday evening. I have been going to Penn Quarter on occasion for years – a former coworker and I used to go out of our way to schedule meetings downtown on Thursday afternoons to take a late lunch at the market. Like just about every other local market, it seems to have grown quite a bit from the humble beginning of about three vendors (I remember cheese, bread and soap in the early days). I had read grumblings about DC market prices being significantly higher than those in the ‘burbs, but didn’t really believe it until we picked up blueberries for the toddler at $6 a pint. That would be twice what we’ve been paying in Alexandria. Yikes! (You city-dwellers might find it worthwhile to venture across the river after all … might I suggest the Old Town market, with the free trolley service from the King Street metro.)

There were a few things at Penn Quarter we don’t have though, like the squash blossoms Sand Hill Farm brought, and the marvelous gelato by Dolcezza. I bought the lemon ricotta flavor, made with my favorite Keswick Creamery ricotta. The lemon was the perfect touch to keep it light yet flavorful. Cibola buffalo is also absent from the Alexandria markets (though I think they may be down at Kingstowne – Ramona?) See below for photos from the market.

Chef Raffa dished up a delightful squash blossom soup and watermelon agua fresca (also with squash blossoms). He was also handing out a recipe for goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms, which is how I cooked them up as soon as we got home. (No toddler review of this one, as I greedily ate them all myself! The husband was sick and doesn’t eat goat cheese anyway, his loss.)

Recipe: Flor de Calabaza Rellena de Queso de Cabra con Salsa
(Goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms with salsa)
by Chef Joe Raffa, Oyamel

Ingredients:

  • Fresh salsa
  • 1 lb goat cheese
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and deveined
  • 1/2 c epazote leaves (I didn’t read the recipe at the market to know to buy this – so had to substitute parsley. I would suggest cilantro if you can’t find epazote, but parsley worked as well.)
  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Instructions: (Prepare salsa first, to allow flavors to meld while preparing the squash blossoms. I was missing several ingredients for Raffa’s salsa, so I made a simple one of corn, tomato, red onion, parsley.)

Preheat the over to 350*. Gently rinse the squash blossoms in a bowl of cold water and lightly pat dry with paper towel and set aside. Combine 1 c of the goat cheese, jalapenos and epazote in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer puree to a mixing bowl and mix in remaining goat cheese. Season with salt. Separate into 12 pieces and roll into 2-3 inch long logs. Gently pry open a squash blossom by pulling back on one of the petals and place a cheese log inside. Lightly pinch the blossom closed around the cheese. Repeat. Place the stuffed squash blossoms on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for no more than 5 minutes. The cheese should be warmed through and the blossoms should soften but not brown. Divide the salsa between 4 plates, top each with 3 squash blossoms and drizzle with olive oil. (Serves 4 – I reduced this for one serving and needed less than 4 oz. of goat cheese to fill my 3 blossoms.

This was by far my favorite meal of the summer. With a simple green salad on the side, it’s rich and creamy yet crisp and refreshing. I loved the jalapeno heat with the sweetness of the squash blossoms. Now I am desperate to get my hands on more squash blossoms to make this again!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Food miles: Squash blossoms, Sand Hill Farm, Greensboro, Md. (84 mi.)

Squash Blossoms at Oyamel

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

For local readers … if you missed Chef Raffa at market Thursday, head on over to Oyamel this weekend to catch their Sopa de Flores de Calabasa (Squash Blossom Soup) and other special treats featuring this fleeting summer ingredient!

Flor de Calabaza Rellena recipe coming soon!