Did you know?
Along with the arrival of summer squashes this season are their dainty, edible flowers. The bright yellow blossoms are generally from zucchini plants, though the flowers of other summer squashes may be eaten, as well. The blossoms are often served fried – a dish we will never turn down, but there are several other ways to fully enjoy the beautiful color and delicate texture and flavor of this summer ingredient.
Fried Squash Blossoms
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon season salt
1/2 cup water
1 egg — slightly beaten
10 to 15 squash blossoms
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste
First, make the batter. Combine the first 5 ingredients, and then stir in the egg and water until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
While the batter is chilling, prepare the squash blossoms.
Carefully separate the flower petals without breaking them and remove the pistil in the center. Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, oregano, and breadcrumbs until smooth. Carefully add about a tablespoon of this mixture to each blossom and twist the top of the flower tight.
Heat enough oil in a frying pan – about an inch deep – to accommodate the blossoms. Get the batter out of the fridge and dip each blossom in batter, coating it. Carefully place each batter-covered blossom in the hot oil and fry until golden crisp on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy! Serves 3 to 4.
Squash Blossom Quesadillas
24 squash blossoms, stems and stamens removed.
1 poblano pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 half an onion, diced
1 teaspoon of dried epazote (can substitute with 1/4 cup fresh cilantro)
3 cups of Oaxacan, Monterrey Jack or Muester cheese, grated
12 tortillas (can use either corn or flour)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put the poblano under the broiler for about five minutes, turning once until it blackens. Place in a plastic bag, close it and let it sit for about 20 minutes. After this time has passed, take poblano out of the bag, peel it (skin should shred off easily), remove stem and seeds and dice.
Gently wash squash blossoms (there might be bugs inside) and remove stems and stamens. Roughly chop.
Heat skillet to medium and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions and diced poblano and cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are clear.
Add garlic, epazote, squash blossoms and salt and pepper to taste and sauté for 10 minutes or until all the liquid from the flowers has evaporated.
Remove from heat and set squash-blossom filling aside.
In a skillet heated to medium, melt a tablespoon of butter. Add a tortilla and cook it on one side until it puffs (about 30 seconds).
Flip tortilla over and sprinkle over entire surface 1/4 cup of squash blossom filling and 1/2 cup of grated cheese.
Top with another tortilla, and after cheese has melted and the two tortillas stick together (a couple of minutes), flip quesadilla and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Repeat for the remainder of the filling and tortillas.
Makes six quesadillas.