For a very long time now I have wanted to try squash blossoms, but alas the universe had yet to give me the means to do so. I always just miss the last batch at the farmers market, or that happens to be the one dish the restaurant is out of. It’s been frustrating, but somehow I made it through. And this past Sunday one of my dreams came true.
Paul and I took the dog to the farmers market to meander through the glory of springs bounty. We enjoyed a handful of cherries. Stopped for a brief doggy interaction. Picked up a bag of mussel. And then it happened. I turned my head to gaze upon the wonderful wall of greens and lo and behold a sparkle of orangey yellow goodness. My holy grail. A dozen squash blossoms waiting to be plucked from them station, calling out to me.
I didn’t have to fight anybody for them, but I would have. And now that I’ve had them I will fight people every weekend if need be! My life feels complete.
I found this recipe on Bon Appetit. It’s super easy, extra tasty, and confidence boosting – to hear the awe (and sometimes undertones of nauseated hatred) in peoples’ voices when they say “you made your own ricotta?” make it all worth it.
What you will need:
8 cups whole milk
pinch of salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
Basically if you can make store bought pasta, you can make your own ricotta. The only thing I would add to the recipe is to not squeeze the whey out too much. You’ll see how satisfying it is to keep twisting the cheese cloth so the moisture drops are raining through the mesh and trying to coax more and more out…but it will dry out the ricotta, so stop yourself a little bit.
1ish cup fresh ricotta
5 large leaves of fresh basil
2 large leaves of fresh purple basil
2-3 leaves of fresh mint
1 med shallot – halved and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove – minced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper – about a tsp each
In a sauté pan combine the oil, butter, shallot, garlic salt and pepper. Sauté until transparent and just browning. Combine the ricotta and the herbs in a bowl. Pour over the cooked shallot mixture and combine.
Prep a shallow, wide mouthed bowl with ½ cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill) and ½ cup corm meal – stir with a fork to combine.
Gently open the squash blossoms – I found some were too small to push the mixture through the end so for these I created a seam down one side and opened it carefully. Using either a small spoon or you fingers press a small amount of the cheese mixture into the bottom of the blossoms then fill to your liking, again being very careful not to break the flowers. Once full of cheese mixture, press them closed and place into the flour.
Prep a sauté pan (I used the same one that I cooked the shallots in – fewer dishes) with about an inch of olive oil, heat for 5 minutes over med-high heat until it pops when you flick a drop of water in.
Lightly coat each blossom with the flour/corn meal mixture and place in the hot oil. Cook on each side for about two minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer to a paper-towel covered plate and sprinkle with salt and squeeze over fresh lemon juice.
Eat while hot – not so you burn yourself (obviously), but the fresher from the oil the better.
These will change your life.