Amongst the chaos of the wildfires, I still found time to fry squash blossoms.
Because I know what's important in life.
And delicious and delicate squash blossoms, gently filled with homemade ricotta, is what's important.
Since I secretly think I'm half Italian, or at least some part Italian, I've been wanting to make these little fried morsels for awhile. It is, after all, an Italian delicacy.
And don't worry – no baby squash were harmed in the making of this recipe. Some squash blossoms (the females) product fruit on the end. The males simply flower. And what's a girl to do with all those beautiful male flowers?
I'll show you.
Note that any variety of squash flower will work well for this – butternut, zucchini, spaghetti, what-ev. And might I just add that a nice red wine is really a perfect accompaniment for this delicate appetizer. I didn't have any, and oh how I wish I had. Note to self: Always keep red wine on hand. You'll never know when you're going to need it.
Actually, I totally know when I'm going to need it. Every night at around 5:00.
Let's move forward, shall we?
Fried Squash Blossom with Homemade Ricotta
You will need:
– 8-12 squash blossoms
– 1 cup sprouted wheat flour or organic, unbleached all-purpose flour
– A few generous pinches sea salt & pepper
– 1 12 ounce beer (a nice Lager or Ale works well)
– 1 cup homemade ricotta cheese
– A few tablespoons fresh herbs of choice
– 1 cup tallow, lard or olive oil
Step One: Gather the squash blossoms. Watch out for bees. Sometimes, they'll tuck themselves inside the blossom. Totally speaking from experience here. Then, gently rinse the blossoms under some water to whisk away any dirt residue. Remove the pollen stem from inside the blossom.
Step Two: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt and pepper, and enough of the beer (you won't use the whole thing) for it to reach a nice, slight-thick-but-still-runny consistency. If you like a more heavily breaded blossom, leave the batter a bit thicker. Alternatively, if you don't like a thick layer of batter, thin it down a bit more with the beer.
Step Three: In a seperate bowl, mush together the ricotta and a few tablespoons of fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley are all wonderful). Then, gently spoon this mixture into a plastic bag. Snip off the corner to create a piping-bag of sorts.
Step Four: Gently squeeze a tablespoon of ricotta into the inside of each squash blossom. Then, use your fingers to gently twist the petals at the top to help seal the cheese into the blossom.
Step Five: Heat the tallow up in a cast iron skillet on the stove until hot and shiny.
Step Six: Oh so gently dip the blossom through the batter, carefully rolling it around until it is covered in the batter. And once again, carefully (CAREFULLY, NOW!) lay the blossom into the hot oil like so.
I've learned a few things about myself over the past few years of blogging. One of them is that I'm not very good at frying foods and taking pictures of it at the same time. Dangerous. And difficult. But so it goes.
Step Seven: Cook the blossoms about 2-3 minutes per side or until a beautiful golden hue.
Step Eight: Repeat the frying of the remaining blossoms, taking care to not crowd the pan with too many at one time.
You know what this calls for? Red wine. Oh wait, didn't we already talk about the importance of that?
Sorry. I must have just subliminally wanted to stress the importance of enjoying such a delicious appetizer as this alongside something as fitting as a dry Chianti.
Chianti is my favorite red wine, by the way.
See? I told you. It's almost like I'm Italian. Except for the fact that I was born in the Pacific Northwest. And all my ancestors are Norwegian. And I'm currently learning French. But other than that, it's totally like I'm Italian.
Maybe I'll just eat some more squash blossoms to make myself feel more authentic. I sure wouldn't mind doing that…
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.