Squash blossoms are the beautiful and delicate orange-yellow flowers of young zucchini. Sought-after for their green and mildly earthy flavor, they are harvested for culinary purposes before they fully open. Although no longer blooming in local gardens, squash blossoms can still be sourced through retailers.
Among its many applications, the blossom can be fried, baked, sautéed, added to soups or used raw as garnish. Alone, the blossoms take center stage in many Latin-American and Italian kitchens. This recipe follows a very traditional Italian approach of stuffing with cheeses and frying to lightly crisped perfection.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Serves | 8 to 12 |
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 oz ricotta
- 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1½ tsp sea salt, divided
- ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
- 8 to 12 zucchini blossoms
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups chilled club soda or sparkling water
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
| Preparation | Heat at least 4 to 6 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep saucepan to 375°F. Have ready tongs and a sheet tray lined with paper towels.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, basil, lemon zest, 1 tsp salt, pepper and mozzarella. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Fill a pastry bag about 1/3 of the way with ricotta-mozzarella mixture and snip off end of the pastry bag.
Carefully open the zucchini flowers just slightly and cut or pull out the stamen. Gently fill each flower about ¾ of the way up with the cheese mixture. Lightly twist the top of the blossom closed. Set aside on a prepared tray.
Mix flour, club soda and remaining salt together in a medium bowl. Do this just before you are ready to fry. Dip blossoms in batter to coat and add to hot oil in 2 batches. Let cook about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden-brown. Gently remove blossoms from oil with tongs and set on paper-towel-lined tray. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.
Fry daddy. When you are deep-frying, it’s extremely important to have your oil at the proper temperature. If it’s not hot enough, your food will absorb too much oil and take longer to brown. This results in an extremely greasy and less crisp product. If it’s too hot, your item may burn on the exterior and remain raw on the interior. To maintain your oil temperature according to the recipe’s instructions, always use a deep-fat thermometer.
Batter up. The purpose of using carbonated liquid in the batter is to provide a light and puffy crust. Timing is essential. You do not want to prepare your batter ahead of time and let it sit. As it sits, the air bubbles from the carbonation will escape, and those air bubbles are what help create the crisp, lofty coating you seek. Seltzer, club soda and beer are all workable options; however, the color and flavor of beer may slightly alter your final product.
Join FEAST and Schnucks Cooking School on Wed., Sept. 26, at 6pm to make the tasty dishes in the menu below. Tickets are just $45 for a night of cooking, dining and wine. RSVP at schnuckscooks.com.
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