Squash Blossoms

In a Northern California squash blossoms burst onto the scene sometime in mid-June and in well-tended garden will continue to arrive every few days thereafter until early October.

Because of their delicacy, Squash blossoms are best picked just prior to cooking.
Both male and female flowers will bloom in concert on a single plant so it’s wise to leave a few flowers of either sex unharvested in order to ensure continued fruiting and pollination.

Squash blossoms can be stuffed with goat or sheep’s milk cheese (vegans can use cultured nut-cheese), lightly floured, egg-washed, coated in seasoned bread crumbs, and quickly pan-fried.

They can also be used, along with young cheese and thinly sliced mushrooms in a blossomy fritatta. Always use a delicate and flavorful extra virgin olive oil with the blossoms, and season modestly. Just a pinch of flaky sea salt and a fine dusting of white pepper will suffice.

Serve with a glass of viognier or cold-climate chardonnay. The bright notes of citrus or stone fruit in these wines (particularly if they are made with fruit grown close to the breezy coast) will compliment the subtle flavors of the 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

Gather a dozen blossoms just prior to cooking.

Gently rinse them in ice water and dry them with a towel.

Remove the fuzzy pistil at the center and trim the stem-end up to the base.

Cut cheese into 12 pieces about an inch square. Place a piece of cheese into each flower and enclose it in the blossom.

Mix the salt, dried herbs and bread crumbs and spread them onto a shallow pan. Lightly dust each blossom with flour.

Dip the flowers quickly in the bowl of beaten eggs and then roll them onto the crumbs to coat.

Shake off the excess crumbs from each blossom and slide them into hot oil in a small wok or skillet.

Let the stuffed blossoms color on one side for no more than a minute, then flip them over and fry them on the other side until they turn a light golden hue. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.