While we were in Italy this summer it was squash season. Every menu we looked at had squash and their blossoms on it, fried, stuffed with many different fillings and even on pizza (which will find its way into our new pizza book). I ate them in all their various forms with delight. When I returned to Minneapolis and saw this dazzling display at the farmer’s market I bought them, more out of a sense of nostalgia than having any real plan for them. Honestly, they intimidated me. I didn’t want to make a mockery of anything this beautiful. I considered just keeping them in the little vase I’d set them in, but that would have been a touch lame and so I soldiered on and learned a valuable lesson…stuffing and frying squash blossoms is easy!
Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Golden Tomato Gazpacho:
Makes 12-18 stuffed blossoms (depending on the size of the flower)
For the filling:
2 ounces soft chevre
1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces ricotta, whole milk
1 cup cooked rice
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
For the coating:
2 eggs whisked with 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl, set aside
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
about 1 cup olive oil for frying
Golden Tomato Gazpacho:
2 medium golden tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 large basil leaves
1/3 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
basil leaves for garnish
to make the gazpacho:
Pick golden tomatoes that are ripe and smell sweet, this gazpacho is all about their flavor.
Throw all the ingredients for the gazpacho in a blender and chop until it is as smooth as you like.
I like it to be well blended, but not perfectly pureed so there is some texture. Refrigerate until ready to serve, it can be made a day or two ahead and it actually improves the flavor.
To prepare the blossoms:
You will need to remove the stamen before you stuff them.
The easiest way to do this is to cut a slit all the way down the blossom and cut the stamen out with a paring knife. This will also make stuffing the flower easier.
In a medium size bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the filling.
Spoon in 1 tablespoon (1 1/2 if your flowers are very large) of the filling.
Fold the cut sides together so they overlap quite a bit, this may require removing some of the filling for smaller flowers. Be sure it is not coming out the top.
In a flat bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and paprika for coating the blossoms, set aside.
Dip the flowers in the egg, coating all sides and the top well. Use your fingers to wipe off any drippy excess.
Dip the egg covered blossom into the flour mixture.
make sure to get it evenly covered, but not caked on. Gently shake off excess.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet to medium heat. Carefully place the dipped blossoms in the hot oil, it should bubble quite a bit. After about 2 minutes flip them over with a slotted spoon, they should be golden. Cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Stir the gazpacho and ladle it onto the plate, place the fried blossoms on top and sprinkle with basil. Enjoy!