In Northern California squash blossoms first burst onto the scene in mid June. If well tended, even a small garden can offer up a handful of handsome squash blossoms every few days until early October.
Due to their delicacy, squash blossoms are best picked just prior to cooking. Both male and female flowers bloom in concert on a single plant. For this reason it is best to to leave a few flowers of each sex unplucked on the plant to encourage both pollination and fruiting.
For a truly iconic summer dish, squash blossoms can be stuffed with goat or sheep’s milk cheese (or een cultured nut-cheese), floured, egg-washed, coated in seasoned bread crumbs, and then quickly pan-fried.
By choosing an olive oil that offers grassy notes or a hint of artichoke, and then seasoning the squash blossoms modestly with just a pinch of flaky sea salt and a fine dusting of white pepper, you can let the delicate flavors sing. A cool glass of fine viognier or chardonnay can provide notes of citrus and stone fruit that will help to showcase the subtle flavors of these delicious 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.