The more time you spend in the garden, the more your love of squash will blossom. In Northern California fiery squash flowers burst onto the scene sometime in mid June. If well nurtured, even a grave-sized garden can produce a handsome handful of tasty squash blossoms every few days until October.
Due to their inordinate delicacy, squash blossoms are best picked just before cooking. Since both male and female flowers will bloom in concert on a single plant, remember to leave a few flowers of each sex behind in order to ensure continued pollination and fruiting.
A delicious rite of summer involve stuffing the delicate yellow squash blossoms with young goat or sheep’s milk cheese (or perhaps cultured nut-cheese), and then flouring, egg-washing, and coating the blossoms in bread crumbs before quickly pan-frying.
By choosing an olive oil that offers up nice grassy or peppery notes, (or perhaps that slight hint of artichoke that some fine olive oils boast), and by seasoning modestly with jus a pinch of flaky sea salt and a fine dusting of white pepper, you can let the delicate flavors of the blossoms sing. Your job is just to highlight the dish with a glass of viognier or chardonnay to bring in a few notes of citrus, or stone fruit.
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.
Let the blossoms color on one side for no more than a minute, then flip and fry them on the other side until they are a light golden hue.