In Northern California squash blossoms burst onto the scene sometime in mid-June and will continue to bloom in a well-tended garden every few days until early October. Because of their delicacy, squash blossoms are best picked just prior to cooking. Also, since both male and female flowers bloom in concert on a single plant, it is necessary to leave a few flowers of either sex on the plant at all times if you wish to ensure continued fruiting and pollination.
They can also be used, along with young cheese and thinly sliced mushrooms in a blossomy springtime fritatta. Always use a delicate and flavorful extra virgin olive oil with the blossoms, and season them 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 flowers.
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 roll them in the crumbs to coat.
Shake off the excess crumbs from each blossom and slide them gently into hot oil in a small wok or skillet.