Tag Archives: Zucchini

The Summer’s First Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms are one of my favorite summer finds.  Although I rarely fry foods, I prepare these lovely flowers the way my great-grandmother did and make a simple batter.

Squash Blossoms

For a dozen blossoms, I use about two heaping tablespoons of flour, one cup of water and one egg.  If the batter seems too thin after mixing these ingredients, add more flour so that it is the consistency of a thick pancake or waffle batter.  The batter should be thick enough to stick to the blossoms – if you are unsure about the thickness, simply dip in a blossom to test.  Also add a few pinches of salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

When ready to fry, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  You can test the oil for readiness by adding a drop of water or batter and seeing if it sizzles.  When the oil reaches the desired temperature, dip each blossom in the batter, making sure to coat the entire flower, and lay it in the oil.  You will likely have to fry in two batches.  When one side is golden, use tongs to turn and brown the other side.  Each side will take about two to three minutes.  As you remove them from the skillet, place the blossoms on a plate covered in a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Fried Squash Blossom

These distinctive tasting delicacies are an ideal summer appetizer and, certainly, a conversation piece.  You will also find recipes for stuffing the blossoms with ricotta, corn and anchovies, for example, but I prefer to let the flavor of the blossoms shine.

Save Those Squash Blossoms!

If you are fortunate enough to have squash blossoms in your own back yard, don’t let them go to waste! They are only available to enjoy for a few short weeks.  When I walk through the neighborhood and spot these beautiful flowers in a garden, I hope that the owner will use them at their peak and make fritters for dinner.  If you are not growing your own, see if a local farm or market will supply you with these summer delicacies.

The mild squash taste of the flowers makes for excellent fritters; however, if you are in the mood for a non-fried option, try the vibrant flowers in a salad.  A very simple one to showcase both taste and color is to slice a juicy, ripe tomato into wedges and add strips of squash blossoms.  Combine with fresh basil for some green, and top with a light dressing of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Of course, season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  This salad should prove to be one of your favorites this summer.

Squash Blossoms

Time for Edible Flowers

Now that June is upon us, you are likely working on your gardens.   Herb garden or flower garden? Hanging baskets or clay pots?

In addition to using flowers to decorate your outdoor living space, consider bringing edible flowers into your kitchen to garnish dishes from main courses to desserts.  Try some nasturtium to brighten a salad or lavender to enhance the flavor of a dessert.

One of my favorite ways to use edible flowers is to add them to a gnocchi brodo just as the ricotta gnocchi float to the top of a boiling chicken stock.  Marigolds and day lilies provide bright, warm colors and an interesting texture to this soup.

flowers

I will have to wait until later this summer for my favorite garnish to a gnocchi brodo – zucchini blossoms.  Simply slice the blossoms into strips and stir them into the brodo for their distinct flavor and color.

RSCN2073So, head to your local gourmet market for a package of edible flowers or, better yet, plant some of your own to have on hand for your summer cooking!