Fried Ricotta Stuffed Squash Flowers
If you have never had the pleasure, trust me when I say that squash blossoms are a wonderful treat when cooked. They are slight and delicate, with just a hint of flavor. Unfortunately, due to their very limited shelf life and status secondary to actual squash, it is often quite difficult to find them (with the exception of farmer’s markets and backyard gardens). I have been known to raid neighbor’s gardens for the beauties, but this year, rather then turning to breaking and entering, I planted my own. I’m still waiting for them to bloom. I may be waiting forever. I was surprised and thrilled then, to find the flowers available at yesterday’s Crescent City Farmers Market. I bought the last container, a gorgeous mix of male and female blooms and headed home, planning recipes in my head.
As I said, they have a very limited shelf life and if you are lucky enough to find them, be sure to cook or eat them as soon as possible. When cooking, be careful to use ingredients that will not overwhelm their subtle, light flavor. I wanted something airy, summery and easy to put together. A combination of mint, lemon, walnuts and ricotta seemed like a great match. It turned out wonderfully. The creamy warm ricotta mixed with the bright lemon zest and both were wrapped in a perfectly crunchy, barely fried bloom. I recommend that you eat them warm with ice cream or simply on their own. They make a wonderful dessert when sweet, but also consider stuffing them with savory cheese and herbs and serving them on a salad.
Fried Ricotta Stuffed Squash Flowers (makes 15 blossoms)
15 Zucchini Blossoms
1/2 cup ricotta
3 tbsp walnuts
8 mint leaves
zest of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 cup soda water
1 cup all purpose flour
First, snip the flowers from the zucchini, being sure to keep a small portion of the stalk intact so that they do not fall apart
In a blender grind walnuts, mint, zest and powdered sugar until fine. Stir the nut mixture into the ricotta. Very carefully part the petals of each blossom and stuff with roughly one teaspoon of ricotta. Be sure not to over stuff, as they will overflow during frying. When finished set blossoms aside.
Set aside on a paper towel and let cool slightly. When ready to serve sprinkle with powdered sugar.