Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fried Squash Blossoms with Basil Fromage Blanc

Mmm. Fried. Zucchini flowers must be healthy, right?

I've never cooked with squash blossoms before, but when I spied them at the Ferry Building this Saturday, my quest was clear. A brief consultation with The Google yielded several recipes, which I tinkered to accommodate the contents of my shelf. The result: yum.

The Batter

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup-ish beer (I used a touch more...depends on the humidity. You want the batter smooth but not thin.)

The Stuffing

1/4 cup fresh cheese (I used Bodega Goat Cheese fromage blanc, but ricotta would work too)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon-ish each salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh basil (Aside: I suddenly have a ton of basil in sweet Italian, Thai, and lemon varieties. Help me eat them.)
16ish large squash blossoms, washed
Canola or peanut oil for frying

Prepare the batter. Sift together dry ingredients, then whisk in beer or cold water until smooth. Cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Leftover batter can be stored for up to two days.

In a bowl combine cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Open the blossoms and spoon about one 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each. Twist the top of each blossom together to close. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Pour the oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown within seconds.

Dip each stuffed blossom into the batter, then carefully slip into the hot oil. Cook until golden on all sides, about three minutes total cooking time. Transfer with a slotted utensil to paper towels to drain briefly. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

These are wicked tasty even without the filling, if you wish to veganize the recipe. Orion tells me they made these in his cooking class in Italy, but that he liked this recipe better. :-)

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