Ricotta · Squash Blossoms

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

IMG_4549

The same afternoon I made focaccia, I also made stuffed, fried squash blossoms.

It was a Friday, and at the farmers' market that morning there was a new (to me) farm in attendance selling lettuces and cabbage and squash – and they had big bags of squash blossoms.  So, of course, I bought some.

I'd never stuffed a squash blossom before, but that was no reason not to start.

I figured I could use some homemade ricotta and fresh herbs from the garden to stuff them and then dredge them in flour, then egg, then flour or flour and cornmeal or something before frying them.  Bill had suggested using some of the leftover filling for chiles rellanos that we had in the freezer, but I really wanted to use cheese.

IMG_6291

Squash blossoms open in the morning and that's when they should be picked.  The flowers will stay open for a while after picking, but as the day wears on, they close up, and the petals eventually shrivel and shrink.  They can still be stuffed, but they're very fragile and will tear easily.

The male blossoms are the ones that should be picked – these won't produce fruit – they just help pollinate the female blossoms, and it's the bees (or my intrepid husband) who actually deliver the pollen – like a box of chocolates – to the female blossoms anyway.  The male blossoms just hang out on the vines, with their little yellow…um…stamens just waiting for the bees to come along and do all the work for them.  When you are preparing these blossoms for stuffing, you'll need to remove the stamen and also check for any little bugs hiding out in there.

IMG_6292

IMG_6293

(male on the left, female on the right, in case you were wondering)

Some recipes call for you to slice the flower open, and this makes some sense, since it's pretty hard to remove the stamen without tearing the petals anyway.  I didn't know about the slicing idea, however, until AFTER I'd made this first batch, so I just tried to do as little damage as possible.  Next time I won't worry so much.

My biggest concern was how to keep the cheese from oozing out during the frying process.  The outer petals were all shriveled and didn't look as though they could be counted on to hold any kind of a shape in the hot oil.  Hmmm…what to do, what to do.  (I could have looked up recipes in my cookbooks or online, but I wanted to figure it out myself.)

Well, as I was staring at the shriveled blossoms, I heard Bill's suggestion of the chiles rellanos filling again.  AHA!  I thought.  Not the filling – I still wanted to use cheese – but the process of making the chiles rellanos.  When we made those, I stuffed the peppers and then – here's the AHA part – closed them up with wooden skewers and then froze them.  Perfect!  That would work for the squash blossom, I figured.  And it did.

So first I went out to the garden and picked leaves and sprigs of just about all the herbs we had. 

IMG_5347_1

I rinsed and dried an assortment for use in my blossoms and saved the rest for the focaccia or for other uses.  Then I chopped up the leaves and mixed them in with the ricotta and some garlic paste and it was time to stuff the flowers.

IMG_5359

Like I said earlier, the blossoms are very fragile and a bit hard to stuff.  But I managed to stuff them by holding the blossom open in my left hand, securing the petals under my fingers somehow, and then spooning some of the ricotta in. 

IMG_5360_1

Then I'd kind of fold the petals together and pin them with a toothpick.

IMG_5361

Once they were all stuffed and pinned, I put them in the freezer and set up three bowls for the dredging and dipping.  First bowl had just flour.  Second bowl – eggs and some milk.  Third bowl – more flour.  Next time, though, I think I'll use a blend of cornmeal and flour, for the crunch.  I poured vegetable oil into a pot and started heating that.

IMG_5379_1

When the oil reached about 360 degrees F, I took a few blossoms out of the freezer, did the flour/egg/flour dredge/dip/dredge thing with them all, and then gently lowered them into the oil.  The toothpicks held, and there was very little, if any, ricotta seepage.

IMG_5380_1

When the first batch came out,

IMG_5381_1

I had to try one,

IMG_5382_1_1  

just to make sure they were fit for consumption by other people besides my immediate family. 

IMG_5385_1

They were.  So onward I went and fried up the rest of them.

IMG_5389_1_1

They may not look very exciting, and the crispy aspect didn't last once they cooled a bit, but they tasted pretty good and people seemed to like them.  There weren't any left, as far as I know.

If you make them – and you should, if you have any sort of access to squash blossoms – just remember to remove the toothpicks before serving!

IMG_5391_1

18 thoughts on “Stuffed Squash Blossoms

  1. I had squash blossoms for the first time this last spring during our trip to Italy and they were delicious. They were stuffed with some kind of ricotta, herb and anchovy mix. The anchovies complimented the ricotta so well. Even my son ate them.

  2. Just found your blog off the Luscious food blog. I was most definitely attracted to it by the name! Great Blog! The pictures are amazing! I have been wanting to make stuffed squash blossoms for a while but, as you’ll see by my blog, http://danazia.wordpress.com/
    I try to lighten everything up that I make. I wonder, how would one make these darling yummies and not fry them? Have you ever tried to do it any other way? BTW, Love the kitties!

  3. Dana Zia, Hi! Welcome! And though I’ve never made stuffed squash blossoms before, I know you can bake them instead of frying. That’s what I will do next time around. The filling will probably not be as melty as with the quicker frying, but they’ll be healthier and tasty nonetheless. Let me know if you give that a try!

    And by the way – you’ve got a lovely website!

  4. I love squash blossoms but haven’t had them in quite a few years as there are no sources near me; I’ll have to find a farmer’s market and hope for the best (or I suppose I can try and grow my own on my dinky plot of land). I have never had them stuffed, but I do batter fry them. Thanks for the memory – I’m salivating. 🙂

  5. Awesome photos, they bring the recipe to life! I am now hungry, but I will have to wait til Saturday to buy some squash blossoms.

  6. Great photos! I love squash blossoms; I usually stuff them with a mixture of goat cheese, shallots, herbs, salt/pepper, and a little bit of olive oil, then fry them, and they’re really lovely.

  7. Oh thank you for this post. I am determined not to have too many zucchini this year. And your recipe and clear helpful instructions will go a long way in my quest to NOT be overrun with squash this summer. Thank you. I like your blog.

  8. If you use a batter of just flour and water they will be crispier. The egg is what softens the batter.

  9. What a great idea! I make zucchini blossom pancakes every season from my garden but never just fried the whole flower, I will have to try, they look so delicious!

  10. Can these be flash frozen and kept for winter… I’m up to my ears in squash blossoms and would really like to have some over the winter!

  11. I start a lot of squashes from seed every year, and for some reason they never make it past the blossom stage 😀 If you do not want to stuff them, try simply frying them in a tempura batter and salting them once out of the oil. Yum!

Leave a Reply