Our first locally-procured item? Squash blossoms filled with local goat cheese, breaded with tempura batter and fried!
It’s as easy as it sounds to make. Here’s my method:
1. Make sure you open up the squash flowers to remove any bugs that may have crawled inside the flower to sleep! My vendor has a special way of picking the flowers to ensure freshness (closing the blossoms at night lightly with a rubber band–this also helps her to keep the purity of her squash lines), and brings them to market with the stems still attached.
2. Remove the little flower tendrils that come up the sides of the bloom from the base of the flower. You certainly don’t have to do this, but it makes it easier to batter and fry, as the tendrils have a tendency to pop back out. Perfectly edible, though, so it’s totally up to you!
3. Some people will tell you to remove the stamen from inside the blossom (the little pokey thing inside that is covered in pollen). I leave it in there, because I think it adds a buttery, warm flavor to the finished product.
4. Put some softened (ie, cool, but not fresh from the fridge) goat cheese into a plastic baggie, or a piping bag. If using the baggie, cut off the corner of the baggie (a bigger cut is better, but not too big!) and carefully pipe the goat cheese into the flower. Aim for the base of the flower, stopping the insertion of the cheese when the petals start to form into individual petals. I go for about a tablespoon of goat cheese per flower, but some flowers can handle more, or less, depending.
5. After piping, gently twist the petals to lightly close the flower to prevent cheese from oozing out.
6. Gently remove the long stem, leaving just enough to grasp with your fingers to hold onto when you will eventually eat these!
7. I prefer to bread the flowers in tempura, as the lightness of the batter compliments the delicate nature of the flower. Prepare the tempura batter according to the box instructions.
7. Dip the flowers into the tempura batter, and place the battered flowers into a hot skillet of canola oil. I use a large skillet with enough oil to just barely cover half of the flower while cooking. I flip the flowers after about a minute, or until one side is brown.
8. Drain briefly on paper towels or a cooling rack. Enjoy immediately (but don’t burn your mouth!)
And there you have it, tempura breaded, goat cheese stuffed, squash blossoms! Since it seems everyone has an overabundance of zucchini this season (same as any), I’m hoping to enjoy these every Saturday for the rest of the summer! No you can’t have any, get your own.