Friday, August 10, 2012

flower power

If we were to divide the world into edible and non-edible, into which category would flowers fall?  My eyes, grateful for their beauty and elegance, say the latter, generally speaking, but I have to make an exception for squash blossoms.  Orange, green, yellow, ephemeral and delicate, the blossoms taste like zucchini, but milder, sweeter.  They are a rarity as well; supermarkets don't sell them because they'll wilt within a few hours. This summer, I've found them at the weekend farmers' market, sold by only one vendor, so keep your eyes open for the flowers.

It's an unexpected bliss, discovering a treat like this: eaten just hours after the gathering, the flowers radiate a nuanced, delectable taste of the earth and the sun.  The blossoms can be eaten raw with a little olive oil and sea salt, baked into eggs, paired with cheese, the possibilities are endless.  A classic, however, is stuffing them with cheese and frying them, and this is my spin on the recipe.  Enjoy!

to start:
8 squash blossoms
Olive oil for frying

1/4 cup ricotta cheese (or other curd based cheese)
handful of shredded basil leaves
1/2 egg
teaspoon of melted butter
pinch of sea salt

2 generous tablespoons flour
other 1/2 of the egg
3 oz medium temperature water
small pinch of sea salt

*Note: for a heavier batter and texture, add more flour so that it has a sticky, thick consistency.  The current proportion will give a very light batter that allows the squash blossom flavor to shine through.

1. To make the filling, melt the butter. As the butter melts, crack the egg, separating about half each into two different bowls.  Put one bowl to the side, as you'll be using it for the batter.  Swirl the butter and egg together, and then add the ricotta, basil, and salt.

2. Grab the bowl you put aside.  Mix in the flour and salt, then the water.  The batter should be more liquid then sticky for a lighter taste, and stickier if you'd like a heavier batter.  Keep both bowls within arms reach.

3. Heat a generous covering of olive oil in a frying pan on the stove.

4. As the oil heats, prepare the blossoms.  Open the delicate petals, reach inside the blossom and pull out the stamen (the mini-matchstick inside the flower).

Hand model credit goes to an accommodating (ie hungry) gentleman

5.  Stuff about a teaspoon of the filling inside the blossom, put the petals back in place over the stuffing, and twist the petals together at the top so that the flower stays together.  Dip the cheese stuffed blossom in the batter, then gently place it in the now hot frying pan.

6. After about 2 minutes on one side, flip the blossom over to the other side.  Cook about 2 more minutes.

7. Drain blossoms on paper towel, and then pop directly in your mouth.

No comments:

Post a Comment