AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: When Life Gives You Lemons… OR squash blossoms. DATE: 8/08/2008 08:13:00 AM ----- BODY:
… Make Tempura!

I know that the zucchini plants yield about 1 fruit for every 8 flowers, or so. Given those odds, I planted about 20 plants hoping to optimize my potential for zucchini. So far, no luck, but I have plenty of blossoms.

The blooms need to be picked at about 5pm the day before they bloom. This will yield the largest flower – the better for stuffing. The flowers open up first thing in the morning, and close after about 2 hours. Once they’ve opened, they rot pretty quickly. But if you catch them before they open, they will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Given that, I started harvesting 3 days out for a dinner party on Tuesday. I yielded about 18 blooms, enough for a generous appetizer.

Stuffed-Fried Squash Blossoms with Roasted Tomatoes

18 squash blossoms, stamen removed
¾ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tbs. fresh basil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

½ carrot, peeled and diced
½ celery stalk, diced
½ onion, diced
1 tbs. butter
2 cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup white wine
½ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup flour
½ cup corn starch
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
½ cup ice cold soda water

1 cup plain oil

Mix ricotta, parmesan and basil together. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Gently stuff each squash blossom with about 1 tbs. of filling.

Meanwhile, sauté carrots, onions and celery in butter. After 5 minutes, add wine and tomatoes. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree with parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the tempura batter: Mix together the flour, corn starch and salt. Add the egg and soda water. Whisk just to combine.

Heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat. Dip each squash blossom in the batter and add to the pan. Cook until lightly golden on both sides, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately with sauce.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:8/09/2008 11:00:00 PM Great tip about what time of day to harvest -- I'll pass this along to my squash-growing friends. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Sally Parrott Ashbrook DATE:8/15/2008 02:01:00 PM Fried squash blossoms are one of life's great joys, for sure. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:8/16/2008 09:26:00 AM They sure are, Sally! What's your favorite stuffing? ----- --------