One of my favorite things about August is summer squash – and not because I love zucchini, but rather because I love to flip through my cooking notebooks to dig up my favorite fried squash blossom recipe. I usually try to stay away from fried foods, but fried squash blossoms are my most beloved little fried treat. How can I resist the call of a crispy shell that’s holding back a savory dollop of creamy, seasoned ricotta cheese? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
Last week while perusing the produce at my local farmers market, I noticed a flash of orange from the corner of my eye. There, piled about three feet high, were stacks and stacks of little plastic crates filled with tender, delicate zucchini blossoms. Their golden petals and deep green stems told me these little guys were freshly picked, which means that they’ll be easy to unfold and stuff without tearing the soft fabric of the flowers. When stuffing zucchini blossoms, freshness is important for this very reason.
When working on a fried squash blossoms recipe, it’s important to use the flowers within a day of picking or buying them, otherwise they tend to tear easily when you try to stuff them. Stuffing is also much easier if the blossoms are kept in the refrigerator until your filling is ready, since the warmer they become, the more likely they are to fall apart when try to open them.
While it’s common to serve fried zucchini blossoms with tomato sauce – you’ll see that I’ve included a recipe below – I usually prefer them straight up. I love the way the flavor of the sweet cheese and fresh seasonings play across my palate, completely unfettered by the tangy tomato element. But hey, I’m not one to argue with the taste of others… so if you prefer the tomato sauce route, go for it!
- 4 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, (get the freshest you can find)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
- 18-24 fresh zucchini blossoms, , chilled
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup chickpea & fava bean flour, (aka: garfava flour)
- Canola oil, enough to fill a skillet to 1″ deep (about 8 cups, depending on the size of your pan)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Two 14-ounce cans diced, fire roasted tomatoes
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- In a small skillet, heat pumpkin seeds over medium-high heat, agitating constantly by shaking the pan. Roast until they begin to pop, much like popcorn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Combine ricotta, egg yolk, parsley, cream, olive oil, salt, pepper, scallions, and roasted pumpkin seeds in a blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Gently coax open a squash blossom, being careful not to tear its tender petals. Using a small spoon, fill the blossom with about a teaspoon of the cheese filling. Twist the end of the petals to to seal the flower. Repeat with remaining squash blossoms.
- In a small bowl, combine water and chickpea/fava bean flour, mixing until well combined. If you prefer a thinner batter, add more water a tablespoon at a time until it is at a consistency you prefer.
- Holding the stem end of a filled and sealed squash blossom, dip the whole thing into the batter and set on a plate. Repeat with remaining filled blossoms.
- When all blossoms are battered, cover them and place them back in the refrigerator until the oil is ready.
- In a heavy pan, heat 1-inch of canola oil until it is to frying temperature 375°F (190°C). Once oil is at the correct temperature, use a pair of tongs to gently place half the blossoms in the oil. Allow them to fry for 2 minutes, then turn them over with the tongs. Fry for another 2 minutes, or until they are nice golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Bring oil back up to 375°F (190°C) and fry remaining blossoms.
- Serve hot and topped with marinara.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about four minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- In a blender or food processor, blend garlic and onions, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Pour sauce into a saucepan and heat over medium flame. Reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until sauce is as thick as you like.
Nutritional analysis does not include oil for frying.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.