Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms – Yumola!

August 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I have recently come home from North Carolina, where my partner and I caught up with several old  friends on a mini vacation. As usual, it was too short a trip and hard to leave the wide beauty of the mountains. Coming back to August humidity didn’t help.

Lazy Rocker cabin at Green Mountain Lodge

Lazy Rocker cabin at Green Mountain Lodge

One couple — he is a childhood chum of  my partner’s — owns the terrific Green Mountain Lodge in Hendersonville. Bennie and Landen hosted us for a couple of days in one of their beautiful cabins. (They’re vacation rentals – and an incredible value.) 

The guys had a fun reunion – babbling like teens about their musician days in Atlanta during the Woodstock years when everyone who was anyone was touring – and they met most of them. Landen, a jewelry designer and bass player, showed us a number of her creations – stunning works in dichroic glass and metals.

Gorgeous views and a super garden

Up at the lodge, with a backdrop of mountains and apple orchards, we were treated to a tour of their organic garden full of heirloom tomatoes such as Cherokee purples, herbs and blueberry bushes. Around back of it and up the hill where they compost and throw the horse “drippings” from their miniature horses, was a patch of “volunteer” pumpkins. They first appear white, then turn an orangey-brown – I think they were more gourd-like, but still, a kind of  squash. They hadn’t tried to eat them yet.

The vines, however, had a zillion blossoms, and I got excited about these: fried squash blossoms are among my favorite treats, though I rarely get them here. You see them on menus all over the Southwest and some provinces in Mexico – maybe at Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo in Chicago.

Not everyone knows you can eat the flowers

squashblossomShe had never heard of this, so I promised her a recipe — and promptly forgot about it till I opened my email from Gourmet today. I signed on for their e- newsletter and get a good batch of eatables weekly. This week, they’re all over zucchini and what to do with it; the squash blossom recipe is from that missive.

So here, for Landen and anyone else with squash blossoming in the garden, is the recipe.

 

Fried Zucchini Blossoms
Makes18 hors d’oeuvres
  • Active Time:25 min
  • Start to Finish:25 min

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup club soda or beer (not dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 18 zucchini (or other squash) blossoms
  • Special equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer
  • Whisk together flour, club soda, and salt in a bowl until smooth.
  • Heat 1 inch oil in a 3-quart wide heavy saucepan over moderate heat until it registers 375°F on thermometer. Working in batches of 3, dip blossoms in batter to coat, brushing them against side of bowl to remove excess batter, and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Serve warm.
Cooks’ notes:

  • Batter can be made up to 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature and whisk again before using.
  • First batches of fried blossoms can be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until all of blossoms are fried.
  • Blossoms can also be panfried, but they will not be as crisp and three-dimensional as deep-fried ones. Instead of making batter, stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss blossoms in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Add blossoms in batches and cook, stirring, until they just begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.

(Recipe from Gourmet magazine’s email newsletter.)

Jan’s notes:

  • I stuff the blossoms with herbed cheese before frying. To do it, wash the blossoms and pat dry. Mix some neufchatel or cream cheese with your favorite herbs, minced onion, garlic or finely chopped nuts. Scoop out a small, walnut-sized spoon of the cheese mixture and roll it into a thumb shape.  Stuff the blossoms with the cheese, mold the blossom around it, and lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or freezer paper. Put the sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes or until the cheese is quite firm. Then proceed with the recipe above.
  • You can use this tempura-like batter for all kinds of fried foods: julienned carrots, zucchini spears, mini eggplants – halved, onion rings, dill pickle slices, apples, peaches, thin beet slices, shrimp, oysters – the list goes on and on.
  • Dry the food well before battering for best results.
  • Drain well after frying (I use brown paper bags or newspaper under paper towels for best absorbency).

Tags: Ask Jan · Recipes: What's Cooking!

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Backyardavore // Aug 7, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I’m not sure if I want to eat the flowers. Maybe next year since I’m too late already. The squash in my vegetable garden are less than two weeks from my table.

    Cheers,
    Matt

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