Early morning in a summer garden is a little bit of heaven on earth.
One of my favorite times of day is early morning in the garden, when the still air feels so cool and fresh against your skin. That earthy smell, emanating up as the sun just starts to warm the damp leaves, always brings me joy. With everything still crisp and moist it’s the best time to head out and see what there is to pick and bring in to play with in the kitchen.
This morning it’s Squash Blossoms! I had a squash ‘volunteer’ in my garden this year so I decided to just let it run and see what it did. Of course, remembering what type of squash was planted in that part of the garden last year was not going to happen, so it’s been fun to watch it develop. This morning it’s beginning to look like something from Little Shop of Horrors. The leaves are huge! Twice the size of the plants I planted from starters. I now call her Audrey and she’s begun vining down over the edge of the raised bed and traveling along the path, obviously on a mission. (Maybe I should start leaving a note in the house to say where I’ve gone in case I don’t return.)
Silliness aside, the good news is her squash blossoms are prolific. It’s so exciting to see so many perfect little beauties tucked under the leaves and nestled next to the tiny squash just starting to form. These will be perfect in structure and size for stuffing, so that’s just what we’ll do……Print
‘Audrey’s’ Stuffed Squash Blossoms
A delicious summer starter for a backyard dinner, these little beauties come together fairly quickly. Plan ahead so you are ready to serve them shortly after frying, when they will be crisp and warm. The filling can be adapted very easily to any fresh herbs you have on hand. I do emphasize fresh herbs here as it makes all the difference. Fresh are delicate and sweet. Loosen up and be creative, it’s almost impossible to mess these up. It’s fun to play around with the flavors of the filling to compliment a theme meal, like Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern etc. Free free to experiment! If you discover something that works great, shoot me a comment, I love to hear back from my readers.
TIP: If you can’t find fresh herbs you can substitute dried, but cut the amount in 1/2 and just use 2-3 different herbs that compliment each other. Dried herbs are much more potent than fresh. Let the filling rest at least 2-3 hours or overnight to give the herbs a chance to infuse the mixture with flavor.
16 fresh squash blossoms, gently rinsed and patted dry
For the filling:
- 3/4 c. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 c. parmesean
- 1/2 c grated mozzerella ( fresh may be a little too wet for this so try the dryer type)
- 1 Tbls Sriracha (or any hot sauce, this is optional)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 c toasted peptias (I like a slight crunch in the texture but this is optional)
- 1 Tbls each of chopped fresh herbs, thyme, oregano, cilantro, mint, parsely (any combination of fresh herbs you like)
For the batter:
- 1 c. white flour
- 1 c. milk
- salt & pepper to taste
2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying
In a medium bowl mix all the filling ingredients with a fork until smooth and well blended. Place into a pastry bag with a round piping tip. If that’s not available you can use a zip lock bag and cut off one botton corner about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in width. The size of hole needed will depend on how thick your mixture is with the grated cheese. You will want it to pipe out easily. Twist the bag at the top so the filling fills the bag with no air and you can pipe it out by squeezing the bag. You can also use a very small spoon to fill the blossoms.
Very gently open up the squash blossom and pipe in the filling, be careful not to over fill, about 1/2 full is perfect. Twist the top petals and set aside. Repeat until all the blossoms are full.
In another small bowl mix flour salt and pepper, slowly whisk in the milk to form a thin batter. You can spice up your batter if you like with chili powder, curry etc. I like mine just simple and plain so it lets the blossom and the filling shine.
Heat 2-3 cups of vegetable oil over meduim heat, about 375 degrees. It will be ready when it sizzles when you put in a drop of batter.
Dip blossom in batter, gently scrapping off excess batter on the side of the bowl. Then carefully place in hot oil. Repeat with several blossoms until the pan if full, no more than 4-5 at a time so they don’t stick together when frying. Cook 2 minutes or so until brown then roll over and cook 2 more minutes. You’ll want them to be slightly browned. Remove to a plate layered with several paper towels. Repeat until all are cooked. (In between batches scoop out any bits of browned batter floating so they don’t burn and flavor the oil)
Serve warm with a little fresh tomato dipping sauce or sauce of your choice. Fresh leaves from the squash plant make a nice plate lining for your presentation. They do have a little prickly stem so gloves for cutting them help. I cut the stem off right at the base of the leaf and lay them flat on a plate or board and then place the finished blossoms on them, and garnish with a few fresh blossoms and fresh herb sprigs to pretty it up.
Just a little FYI: Audrey was the heroin of the play “Little Shop of Horrors”, in case you were wondering who the heck Audrey is.