The Joys of Summer: Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms, one of the great local, seasonal treats, have begun to show up at farmers’ markets. They have a subtle, round, fresh flavour that calls for a simple treatment. Our favourite way to enjoy these little bundles is to stuff them with a bit of mild, savoury cheese, and crisp them up in a bath of hot oil. This recipe is adapted from Alice Waters.

Start by procuring your blossoms. Choose ones that seem plump and fresh-looking – no slimy darkened bits. Ideally, they should have bright orange petals. As a light appetizer, count on 3 or 4 per person.

When you’re ready to prep them (this can be done a couple of hours before cooking) begin by gently separating the petals. Reach inside, and pluck out the stamen – the spike emanating from the centre of the flower. Stuff each blossom with a piece of fontina cheese – about 1 inch long by 1/4 inch square – and a few crumbs of finely chopped garlic and parsley.

Heat your oil – we used a two-to-one mix of canola and extra virgin olive oils – to 375’F. In a bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, a glug of milk, and a generous pinch of salt. In another bowl, have two cups of finely ground cornmeal (a.k.a. semolina) at the ready.

Dip the blossoms in the egg mixture, then roll them around in the cornmeal. Repeat until you have the appropriate number for your deep frying vessel (in our case, this was eight blossoms).

Place the blossoms in the fryer one by one. They will float like doughnuts, so after maybe a minute and a half, flip them over and fry them on the other side. They will come out looking suspiciously like chicken wings:

Drain them on paper towels, and serve them piping hot with a wedge of lemon on the side. They go very nicely with sparkling wine.

Bonus tip: as the NY Times suggests, bringing your deep fryer outside is a great idea.

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