Post Edit: I’ve made some more squash blossoms (from my own garden) stuffed with goat cheese, here.
I love when a recipe for something unusual catches my eye and then my local farmer’s market features the ingredient.
Last week, as I was devouring the fundamentals of Italian cooking from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking, a recipe for crispy fried squash blossoms jumped out at me as something interesting, fun. It’s just so very Italian to use everything that grows, but in the most beautiful and tasty way and who wouldn’t be temped by a fried flower that is prepared similar to a tempura?
My Saturday farmer’s market adventure always seeks the smaller farmers and gardeners, and I struck gold meeting Karen Bordine and whisking up her organic produce from Readyville, Tennessee, especially these gorgeous squash blossoms.
Karen is a friendly face at the market and you should stop by to see her. She also sells flowers.
As I am reading the recipe instructions, I was surprised to discover there is a male and a female squash blossom, (why don’t I know this) and Marcella says only eat the males, as the females are mushy. Well, I bought quite a few females and did my own taste test, hoping I didn’t make too big of an error.
Truthfully, we couldn’t tell the difference, but maybe my discernment is not keen enough. Marcella Hazan is known to be very opinionated, and I don’t want to argue with her. She must be right!
Can I be real and tell you that about 10 years ago, I gave her cookbooks away. They belonged to my cousin, Sam, who I have devoted this blog to, and whom I miss now more than ever since I’m food blogging. He would be so enormously proud of me, as it is he who introduced me to modern California cuisine and foodie world. No one else in my family had food in their veins the way he did. He died at age 43 and the world lost one very classy man, who expanded my world in ways he never fully got to see. In reflection, he was probably so ahead of me in culinary style, yet he never let on as he loved my food. I ate the last Italian meal he made and I cooked the last Italian meal he ate. We were close for cousins, more like siblings.
I feel like he still lives through this blog, and now that I will be cooking from his favorite Italian cookbook, he will be in the kitchen with me. You can’t know what that means to me.
Squash Blossom Salad, made with Mache, Olive oil, Lemon
Once I got going, I got out all the zucchini I had on hand, green and yellow, and stir fried them until very soft. The sweetness of the zucchini is such a treat in and of itself, so one needs to avoid the temptation of over-seasoning. The zucchini deserves its own post, which I’ll do later this week. Unsure of how to incorporate the crispy fried squash blossoms into dinner, I put them on top of a mache salad that was dressed with extra virgin olive oil with lots of lemon. Perfect marriage. My fear was that they would fall apart and be fragile during the cooking process, but they must have been just picked that morning because they proved to be hearty.
You don’t see too much (if any) fried food here at Spinach Tiger. These are a special occasion, and I think a wonderful appetizer to greet guests with.
- 1 dozen male zucchini blossoms
- grape seed oil
- ⅔ cups flour
- 1 cup water
- Wash blossoms in cold water. Gently dry. Cut stems to one inch.
- Sift the flour into the water and whisk the batter to a thick consistency of sour cream.
- Heat oil in a pan ¾” high on medium high heat. Holding stem, dip blossom into batter.
- Carefully, place squash blossoms into pan, not crowding. Have a lid on hand in case of splattering. Each time you place a new blossom or turn over, grease is likely to splatter.
Caution: You are putting a water-based slurry into oil. Oil does not like water, and it will react, so have a lid in your hand, until the oil calms down. There will also be a reaction when you turn them over.
Turn over when golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Season with salt.