Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms

Every summer, we anxiously await the arrival of squash blossoms so we can make one of our favorite dishes: fried squash blossoms.

It's a little time-consuming to prepare as you have to carefully remove the pistil from the center of the flower without ripping the delicate petals, but the work involved is worth it. I first had fried squash blossoms when I lived in Italy. In Italy, they’re usually dipped in batter and fried, and then served with salt and pepper. In Mexico, they’re added to soups and quesadillas. I stuff mine with cheese, dip them in beer batter, and fry them in hot oil.

The ones that come attached to a small baby squash are female blossoms; the ones without squash are male blossoms. Both are delicious. Buy the freshest flowers you can find and cook them the day of purchase; the longer you store the blossoms, the more the petals will stick together, making it hard to stuff them.

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
Vegetable oil
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.

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Related: Word of Mouth: Huitlacoche

(Images: Kathryn Hill)