Market Watch: Squash Blossoms
Squash blossoms are the sweet and tender flowers of growing summer squash. I (very gently) grabbed some and rushed home to cook them my favorite way: stuffed and fried until golden (yes, fried!). You can find them at the farmers’ markets from late spring to early fall -- here's what you should know about this farmers' market delicacy.
Squash blossoms are a true delicacy -- fragile and so highly perishable that you’ll almost never find them at the grocery store. For best results, use them within a few hours of bringing them home.
Blossoms are unbeatable when stuffed with cheese and lightly fried. It takes a little bit of work, but they make a spectacular appetizer. I’ve experimented with recipes for everything from tempura batter to egg batter to beer batter to come up with my own version. When frying, make sure the oil is at the proper temperature (a thermometer helps!). This way, the food absorbs the least amount of oil, which helps keep the calories and fat under control.
Place ricotta in a small bowl lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Combine strained ricotta, basil, and mozzarella in a small bowl; mix well with a fork. Transfer cheese mixture to a resealable plastic bag and cut off one of the corners so that the filling can be squeezed out. Gently pull away the leaves of each blossom and squeeze in about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of the filling. Close the petals and gently twist at the top to seal.
To prepare the batter, combine flour and milk. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan to 350-degrees. Dip the stuffed blossoms in the batter and allow any batter excess to drip off. Gently place in hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden – about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with additional salt if desired and serve immediately.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »