Like a sunburst, aren’t they!
There’s something especially marvelous about eating flowers–at once primal–bovine, really–and decadent. It’s no wonder we humans added these to our roster of good things to eat. Emerging from beneath huge verdant leaves, the brilliant yellow-orange blooms of zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin plants drink up the light and look positively delectable.
I have had limited experience with them–ephemeral squash blossoms carry an aggressive price. Hence, the decadence…But recently a friend who acts as a market liaison between farmers and chefs had an unsold container of blossoms that wouldn’t be viable the next day. Would I like to have them?
Who could refuse such a gift?
I had to act quickly, which meant using ingredients already on hand. Fillings made with ricotta or chevre would be my preference, but having neither, I opted for the plain cream cheese in my fridge. With some modest enhancements— acidy-sweet sungold cherry tomatoes and peppery lemon basil—it got that nice tang you’d expect from better cheeses.
Let me say also that I normally resist battered-and-fried. But a tempura-like batter, or the beer-based one that I used, adds this wonderful crunchy overlay to the blossom. The subtle squashy flavors inherent to the flower come through, and the filling bursts with creamy goodness. For an every-once-in-a-while treat, I’ll indulge all the way.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
1 lb. Cream Cheese, softened, cut into small slabs
3 T. chopped Lemon Basil
1 T. chopped Garlic chives
6 Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes
Pastry bag with tip
Place cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, and herbs into food processor outfitted with the swivel blade. Pulse the mixture until all the ingredients are chopped and blended throughout. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Gently remove the pistil from each blossom.
Fill pastry bag and pipe filling into the flowers. Refrigerate until ready to batter and fry.
Stuffs 16-20 blossoms
Â½ cup Flour
2 T. Cornstarch
Â½ t. Baking Powder
Â¼ t. Baking Soda
Â¼ t. Salt
Â½ cup Club Soda or Beer
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Beat in egg and club soda or beer.
Heat oil (about Â½ â€œ deep) in large skillet. One by one, dip blossoms into batter; allow excess to drip back into bowl, and place into sizzling oil. Fry until golden brown—about three minutes—and flip over. Repeat. Remove crispy fried blossom and place onto a paper towel to drain.
Best when served immediately.
The blossom stems make perfect handles…
A pleasing combo of crunch and cream