Squash flowers

Squash blossoms  have a  delicate zucchini-like flavor and can be stuffed, fried, sauteed, made into soup, or used anyway your tastebuds desire. You can simply dip the flowers in egg, shallow-fry them, and serve with lemon, but here are some recipes to make squash blossoms extra special.

Fried zuccini flowers with lavender honey
Cheese-stuffed squash blossoms
Squash blossom hush puppies
Squash blossom soup

Yotam Ottolenghi’s fried zucchini flowers with lavender honey
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 125g soft goat’s cheese
  • 30g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 female zucchini flowers with the baby zucchiniattached
  • 100g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 120g  breadcrumbs
  • 350ml sunflower oil, for frying
  • About 1 tbsp lavender honey

Directions

  1. Make the filling by stirring together the cheeses, chives, thyme, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  2. Put a tablespoon in the base of each flower and gently twist the tips of the petals to secure the filling inside.
  3. Prepare three shallow bowls: one with the flour and a quarter-teaspoon of salt; one with the beaten eggs; and one with the breadcrumbs and a quarter-teaspoon of salt.
  4. Toss each stuffed flower and attached zuccini first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg.
  5. Finally coat with breadcrumbs and set aside.
  6. Pour around 350ml oil into a medium, nonstick frying pan (enough to come 1cm up the sides of the pan) and place on a high heat.
  7. After two minutes, turn down the heat to medium and, when bubbles start to surface, put the zucchini flowers in the hot oil, a few at a time, adjusting the temperature so they take about a minute on each side to go a nice golden brown.
  8. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.
  9. Place the hot flowers on a serving plate, drizzle over a little honey and serve at once.

Adapted from: Yotam Ottolenghi Recipes, The Guardian, UK.

.
Cheese-stuffed squash blossoms
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 18 zucchini, acorn squash or pumpkin blossoms, stamen removed

Cheese Filling:

  • 3 ounces goat (feta) cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Beer Batter:

  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cold flat beer
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and sliced chives for garnish

Directions:

  1. Gently swirl squash blossoms in cold water to clean. Carefully remove them from water and dry on paper towels.
  2. Combine goat cheese, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, oregano,basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl and beat until smooth.
  3. Carefully spoon 2 teaspoons of cheese mixture into each blossom. Lay flat on a plate and chill.
  4. In a shallow dish, whisk together cornstarch, flour, salt, pepper, celery salt, baking soda, baking powder, egg and beer.
  5. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large deep skillet to 375 degrees F.
  6. Gently dip a filled blossom in batter covering entire blossom and lay in hot oil. Cook on one side until brown, then flip. Continue with remaining blossoms, cooking a few at a time.
  7. Remove blossoms with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  8. When ready to serve, top blossoms with salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and chives.

Adapted from SheKnows Food & Recipes.

Squash blossom hush puppies
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning or cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil or bacon drippings
  • Corn or canola oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 8 to 10 squash blossoms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, Old Bay or cayenne, and cumin.
  2. In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, and corn oil or bacon drippings.
  3. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large deep skillet to 350 degrees F.
  4. While oil is heating, combine wet and dry ingredients and add in the
    onion, squash blossoms and corn.
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop or small spoon, drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil.
  6. Cook until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Remove using a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain. Serve warm.

Adapted from SheKnows Food & Recipes.

Squash blossom soup
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound squash blossoms (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Grated anejo cheese for garnish. (Anejo cheese, a dry Mexican cheese, is similar to Parmesan and can be found in the cheese section of most large markets.)

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until melted.
  2. Saute onions and garlic about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Mix in squash blossoms and cook 5 more minutes.
  6. Pour mixture into a food processor or blender and process until
    smooth.
  7. Strain soup back into the pot.
  8. Mix in half and half and bring to a boil.
  9. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. When ready to serve, top each bowl with grated anejo cheese.

Adapted from SheKnows Food & Recipes.

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