squash blossoms fill with ricotta cheese prepared and
styled by Joan Moravek in the test kitchen on
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018.
flower all beauty, promise and wile makes for an
unlikely meal. To pluck, stuff and fry it seems savage.
Though, in truth, no more brutal than the rest of dinner
nasturtium spikes the salad with brilliant color and
radish-hot bite. The rose petal, starched with sugar, gives
pastry a sweet snap. Lavender warms shortbread sunny.
squash blossom, soft and capacious, grows like a
dumpling-on-the-vine ready to fill and fold. Plumped
with ricotta, batter-dipped and crisped, it makes for a
crunchy, creamy bite. One best downed with neither sauce nor
sentimentality. The abundant, prickly vine is busy unfurling
3 minutes per batch
squash blossoms or 4 small (1 pound total) yellow squash or
salt and freshly ground black pepper
tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
cup beer or sparkling water
cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
tablespoons chopped fresh mint
grated zest of 1 lemon
oil, for frying
salt, such as Maldon
Provision: If you have squash growing in the garden, snip
off 12 male blossoms (growing on a straight stem), as
opposed to female (which sport a swollen mini-squash at the
base). Peek inside if theres some six-legged fellow
busy pollinating, shake him out. Or find blossoms at the
grocery store or at the farmers market. Lacking blossoms,
use 4 small summer squash sliced into 1/4-inch-thick circles
and sprinkled with a little kosher salt.
Mix: Whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese,
1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk in
enough beer (or sparkling water) to form a thin batter. Set
Stuff: Stir together ricotta, remaining 2 tablespoons
Parmesan cheese, the mint, zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few
grinds of pepper. Open each blossom. Spoon in about 2
teaspoons ricotta mixture and twist the blossom closed.
Fry: Choose a deep, heavy pot for frying blossoms. Pour in
oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 365 degrees. Dip one
filled blossom in the batter and lower it into the oil.
Repeat with a few more blossoms, without crowding. Fry until
golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Lift out with a
slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with flaky
salt. Repeat, frying all blossoms. For squash circles, pat
dry and fry as above, about 2 minutes per side.
Serve: Munch fried blossoms hot or warm. For circles, top
each with a dollop of the ricotta mixture before serving.