Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fried Squash Blossoms with Goat Cheese

I have never seen squash blossoms in the store before so I got SO excited when they had them at the Sunshine Market by my house in Chelan. There was a recipe in the most recent issue of Fine Cooking for tempura fried squash blossoms so I decided to make them. I stuffed mine with goat cheese because everything is better with goat cheese. Usually I hate frying things because it wastes so much oil, but this recipe only called for a half cup. Basically it coats the bottom of the pan and you flip the blossoms while they cook. Be careful of grease explosions though, I almost scalded my poor sister…
The tricky thing about squash blossoms is finding them. They have an extremely short shelf life (cook them the same day you buy them) so most grocery stores don’t carry them. Farmers markets or farm stands are your best bet.

Fried Squash Blossoms with Goat Cheese
adapted from Fine Cooking
makes 4-6 appetizer servings
1 1/3 cups flour
Kosher salt
1 ½ cups cold plain seltzer water (one 12 oz can)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
10-12 squash blossoms, stamens removed
10-12 tablespoons soft goat cheese (fresh ricotta would be good as well)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and a heaping 1/4 tsp. salt. Add the seltzer and stir to blend. The mixture should be the consistency of a semi-lumpy but loose pancake batter. Put about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese inside each squash blossom and twist the tops slightly to seal them.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When a drop of batter sizzles in the pan, the oil is ready. Holding its stem end, dip a blossom into the batter. Swirl it around to coat. Drag the end of the blossom over the bowl’s edge to remove excess batter. Gently lay the blossom in the pan and repeat with 4 or 5 more blossoms, depending on the size (don’t over-crowd the pan). Cook until the blossoms are light golden-brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the blossoms with tongs and cook until light golden-brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the blossoms to a rack covered with paper towels and set over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Return the skillet to medium heat and repeat with the remaining blossoms.

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