Fried Squash Blossoms

Fried squash blossoms are one of those things I’ve always wanted to make just because. Do I like squash? Heck no. Do I like deep-fried things? No more than any normal person. Do I like flowers? Not to eat.

Yet something called to me – perhaps it was that one (single) good scene in “Eat, Pray, Love” where Julia Roberts cuts into a fried squash blossom in Italy and it oozes cheesy goodness. I wanted to create that piece of art, with the crunchy exterior and fresh herbed cheese melting inside.

The batter is like a tempura – I don’t know how this limp little flower can taste that good, but the basil, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese don’t hurt. Sprinkled with sea salt, you have the perfect snack or salad-topper.

You can find squash blossoms at the farmers’ market, or better, just pick them from a friend’s (or unknowing neighbor’s) garden! Squash plants produce way too many flowers as it is. I would encourage you to use big zucchini blossoms, not the small squash blossoms that I had – they simply weren’t big enough to hold all the cheese and basil I tried to stuff inside, and most ended up ripping.

I adapted mine from an Anne Burrell recipe, which I picked for the simple flour-white wine batter. How could that be bad? Next time, I think I’ll experiment with different cheeses, just to see.

Fried Squash Blossoms

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, patted dry and cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade basil leaves
  • 8 squash flowers (preferably zucchini)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Canola oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, toss together the mozzarella, Parmesan and the basil chiffonade. Gently stick your finger inside the flower all the way to the base where the flower meets the stem and carefully break off the stamen. When doing this be careful not to rip through the flower. Squeeze 1-2 tablespoons of the mozzarella mixture into an oblong shape and gently stuff it into each flower. Squeeze the flower around the cheese to close. Reserve. Don’t worry if you ripped them a little – the batter kind of fills all the holes!

In a small bowl, combine the flour and 3/4 cup of white wine. Mix until it becomes a loose batter adding more white wine, if necessary.

Add oil to a saucepan until it reaches a depth of 1-inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Test the oil by dropping a couple of beads of the batter into it. When they float instantly the oil is ready. If the oil begins to smoke, it is too hot. Set up a paper towel drying situation before frying the flowers.

Dip the flowers, 1 at time, into the batter and carefully drop them into the oil. Fry on both sides until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the flowers from the oil, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Continue with the remaining flowers.

Garnish with basil, if you like. I personally loved these, even though they weren’t as cheesy as I would prefer. But that was my fault. Perhaps next time I’ll try grated mozz?

Enjoy your summer tasties, friends! xoxo

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