Trust me. It’s not strange to eat a flower. I mean, we eat plants. We eat leaves. We eat nasty fungus that grows out of the ground. (Well, some of us do. I’m no mushroom lover. I stand by my statement.) Why not eat a flower? I grew up eating grape leaves and vines that grew in my neighbor’s side yard. When I was little, my father played on a volleyball team at his friend’s house; all of us kids used to run through the woods and eat the wild honeysuckle flowers we found while are parents practiced, and here I am to tell the tale: I survived!
Goodness knows I eat my share of zucchini. Why not eat all parts of it?
Admittedly, I did not know the glory of the squash blossom until two years ago. After completing my Master’s degree, one of my aunts took me out for a celebratory dinner at Felidia. Indeed, said blossoms were filled with a decadent ricotta mix and fried up, tempura style. It was such a simple appetizer, yet, it absolutely blew my mind that at time. Since that point, I’ve became that hip Millennial that feels the urge to look for squash blossoms at every farmers’ market I go to. (Along with kohlrabi and watermelon radishes, of course…) Nine out of ten times…I won’t find any. However, I’ll hit that right farmers’ market on the right day in the end of July or beginning of August, and I’ll hit the mother load.
As with most things in the culinary world, stuffing something with cheese then frying it in copious amounts of oil makes it better.
Flowers, clearly, do not escape this proclamation.
Herbed Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms
(Based on the Bon Appetit recipe for Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms)
(Makes 8 blossoms)
– 8 oz. ricotta
– 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
– 2 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice, finely minced (for this recipe’s photos, I used 1 tablespoon fresh dill and 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
– 8 squash blossoms, stamens removed (See Before We Get Started…)
– 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
– 2 large eggs
– 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying
– Salt & Pepper, to taste
Before We Get Started…
– The stamens must be removed from the blossoms prior to cooking. If we can mentally go back to our respective 4th grade sciences classes, the stamen, in laymen’s terms, is the part that sticks out in the center of the flower. To remove the stamens from your blossoms, take great care to spread the blossoms’ pedals apart, reach in with your thumb and forefinger, and gently pinch them out. Gently rinse them with cold water for a moment, making sure to remove excess dirt or pollen. (Though, certainly, a little of each likely won’t kill ya.) Place them on a paper towel to rest until it’s time to stuff them.
– If you don’t have a piping bag, use a plain ol’ resealable plastic bag. After filling the bag with the ricotta mixture, craft a piping tip by cutting off a small corner of the bag. To fill blossoms, gently apply pressure to the bag while slowing squeezing mixture out.
1.) In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2.) Transfer the ricotta cheese mixture to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag. (See Before We Get Started...) Pipe mixture into cleaned squash blossoms.
3.) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While oil is heating, place breadcrumbs in a baking dish or bowl. Lightly beat eggs in another bowl. Dip blossoms in egg, then breadcrumbs.
4.) Gently place blossoms into oil and fry for two minutes, gently flip blossoms, then cook on the other side for an additional two minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels; season with salt.