Saturday, August 7, 2010

Stuffed squash blossoms

Photo by Lisa Lathrop © DoubLeL Photography
Stuffed squash blossoms…ever tried them? You’re in for a treat!

Served regularly in Europe and Mexico, squash blossoms have a flavor reminiscent to the squash itself. The most common variety for cooking are the pumpkin blossoms, although any squash blossom will do. You can use either the female or the male blossom, and you want to be sure to remove the stamen before stuffing or you’ll have a very bitter flavor to the blossom that will turn you off forever to the entire idea.

Select extremely fresh blossoms that are tight and stand tall. They don’t have a long shelf life, so plan to prepare them within a couple of hours of purchasing them at market. Take a trip or two around the market to be sure you are getting the freshest blossoms…if not, you’re sure to throw some out because they’re wilting and unusable.

Photo by Lisa Lathrop © DoubLeL Photography
To prepare the blossoms, trim the stem just at the base of the flower and remove the stamen from inside. It may be helpful to have a tweezers or needle nose plyers to remove the stamen, as some blossoms may be difficult to get into with just your fingers.

Next prepare a batter for the blossoms using the following:
1 cup flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk or beer
Mix until blended smoothly and chill in refrigerator until ready to use

Stuff blossoms with soft cheese of your choice, using only ½ tsp per blossom then twisting top to seal and place on sheet pan.  Pick up one of the small batch soft artisnal cheeses at market and try that for your stuffing.
Photo by Lisa Lathrop © DoubLeL Photography
Heat ½ inch canola oil, safflower oil or sunflower oil in large sauté pan or wok until heated to 375° or just until a small piece of bread dropped in oil browns quickly.
Dip blossoms in batter and then gently place in oil, being careful to only place as many blossoms as will fit comfortably in bottom of pan at one time. Fry for approx 3 min, turning halfway through. If you have a candy/deep fry thermometer, try to adjust the heat so that the temperature stays about 375° during frying. Remove with slotted spoon and rest on paper towels to drain excess oil. Fry remaining blossoms, drain and sprinkle lightly with salt before serving.

Photo by Lisa Lathrop © DoubLeL Photography
Serve immediately and enjoy!

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