Serves 4 to 6
We’ve become rather enamored of squash blossoms over the last few years. So much so that we’re growing two different varieties of zucchini in our garden, both of which produce mature zucchini with the blossom intact on the base of the squash. It’s like a bonus vegetable, especially given how versatile squash blossoms are.
That versatility can be highlighted in a vegetable stir fry (think tender kale, zucchini, and squash blossoms), or simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, then served atop pasta, or in a fritatta or scrambled eggs. However, my favorite method is to stuff and fry them.
I know, I know, the other methods sound so much more healthy, but deep-fried squash blossoms are a once in a while treat that we all deserve – summer is short here, after all, and the squash blossom season is shorter still. Why not indulge while we have the chance?
12 zucchini blossoms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium shallot, chopped
12 tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
If the blossoms are coming from your garden, it's best to pick them before noon when the flowers are wide open and are therefore easier to check for the dastardly squash bug, and, it is also easier to remove the pistil when they are open. Be sure to be careful not to annoy the pollinators in your garden when picking, they're quite active while the flowers are open.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until the shallot is translucent and the mixture is becoming aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Combine the shallot-stem mixture with the fresh ricotta. Salt and pepper to taste. Working ever so carefully - the blossoms are quite delicate, you know - stuff them with the ricotta mixture. I use an espresso spoon and my fingers to place and tuck the mixture within. If you tear the blossom, not to worry, simply cover the cheese as best you can. Gently twist the petals over themselves to form a seal.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or on a plate and season with salt and pepper. First, dip the blossoms in the egg, allow any excess egg to drip off, and then dredge in the flour.
Fill a large, deep pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches of two, add the zucchini blossoms and fry until golden brown, flipping them midway through cooking. It will take 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once the blossoms are golden brown, place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil, ask everyone to be patient - these bad boys are hot - and then serve them forth.