Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pan Fried Stuffed Squash Blossoms

The first time I had stuffed squash blossoms was on my first trip to Greece back in 2000. The concept struck me as bizarre at the time. And then I tasted it and all of its complexity. Somehow I found it both comforting and exotic. Delicious. I consider squash blossoms a delicacy, yet very rustic. The only way to acquire it is freshly picked since they are extremely perishable. Since I do not have a proper yard, that means my best bet is from the Farmer's market. This time of year, squash blossoms are a fresh memory of late summer.

Handling them delicately while cleaning and stuffing can prove to be challenging. I usually trim them, put into a shallow pan of room temperature water to keep them fresh as possible before preparation. At best, they will survive a few hours without wilting. There are two sexes of squash blossoms: female, attached to the baby vegetable; and male, on a stem, no effect on harvest of the squash. Make sure that in cleaning, remove the stamen before stuffing and cooking. If they do tare, they tend to be forgiving in stuffing and pan frying - so do not throw it away.

There are a number of ways to prepare squash blossoms. Different cultures have different preparations for them. In Mexico, they are sauteed and put into blue corn tacos or quesadillas. In Italy, it is most common to put them into frittatas. In Greece they are stuffed with a variety of fillings and either pan fried or boiled. For these, I wanted to use everything I bought from the Farmer's market and my herb garden. For these pictured, I made a filling consisting of goat cheese, an egg, and fresh herbs such as oregano, mint, thyme, chives, salt and pepper. Make life a little easier by piping the filling into the blossoms. You can use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off. Gently twist the top of the flowers to seal. Lightly coat in seasoned brown rice flour. Cook in a medium saute pan with a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. As an accompaniment, I made a julienned style ratatouille of sauteed carrots, eggplant, peppers, and onions. Something to look forward for next summer.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

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