Let your love of squash blossom. In Northern California fiery squash flowers burst onto the scene sometime in mid June. If well tended, even a small garden can be coaxed to produce a handsome handful of tasty squash blossoms every few days thereafter until October.
Due to their inordinate delicacy, squash blossoms are always best picked just prior to cooking. Both male and female flowers will bloom in concert on a single plant so always try to leave a few flowers of each sex unplucked in order to ensure continued pollination and fruiting.
For an iconic summer dish, squash blossoms can be stuffed with young goat or sheep’s milk cheese (or cultured nut-cheese), floured, egg-washed, coated in seasoned bread crumbs, and quickly pan-fried. By choosing a subtle olive oil with grassy notes or a hint of artichoke and seasoning modestly with just a pinch of flaky sea salt and a dusting of white pepper, you can let the delicate flavors of the blossoms sing. A glass of fine viognier or chardonnay will provide notes of citrus, or stone fruit, to help highlight these seasonal blossoms.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
- 2 dozen squash blossoms ,
- 1 lb. Sheep’s milk cheese
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon fine unprocessed sea salt
- white pepper
- 1/2 cup grapeseed or peanut oil
- Fine olive oil for finishing
Prepare the blossoms by gently rinsing each blossom in ice water and let it dry. Remove the fuzzy pistil at the center, and trim the stem-end right up to the base. Cut the cheese into 24 pieces about an inch square. Place a piece of cheese into each flower and enclose it in the blossom.
Mix the salt and bread crumbs and spread them onto a shallow pan and lightly dust each blossom with flour. Dip the flowers quickly in the bowl of beaten eggs, and lightly drop and roll them onto the crumbs to fully coat.
Gently shake off the excess crumbs from each blossom and slide them into the fully heated oil in a small wok or skillet.