Fried Squash Blossoms

There’s something about squash blossoms that always brings a smile to my face. Their color is like a bright summer’s day and they are …whimsical, that’s the word! I had a “Julie and Julia moment” this summer, where I made it my mission to try out as many recipes as I could to find the perfect fried squash blossom. Their season is short in Italy, so I purchased them at every opportunity. I only wished that if we had a kitchen garden, I would have that true Tuscan garden-to-table experience. Since they make a wonderful antipasti, I served them to different groups and guests that came to the Villa — each time they were greeted with great delight. Morning is the best time for harvesting squash flowers. Flowers from summer squash, zucchini and late-season pumpkins and winter squash can be used. The plants produce both male and female flowers; the female blossoms will become the vegetable, so in order to preserve your harvest, it is best to pick the male blooms.  Male squash blossoms are hairier and have a thin base where they attach to the stem. Females have a thick bulge, where they grow from the plant.  Pick the squash with about 6 inches of the stem attached. The wonderful thing about them is that they are very inexpensive! If you have a garden with zucchini, then voila!, you have an appetizer for lunch at your fingertips.  The recipes are endless – blossoms stuffed with ricotta, fresh herbs and lemon zest and then baked; blossoms cut open and filled with seabream; or a chiffonade of squash blossoms served over pasta. I think my favorite is just the simplest form – Fried Squash Blossoms. The following recipe is almost like a tempura batter. Light and airy, it clings to the blossom and after being fried, creates a magical sensation with your taste buds.  Since zucchini is plentiful in the States this time of year, I recommend a jaunt to your garden to make this simple recipe! This recipe can also be used with other vegetables and whole sage leaves. Andiamo mangiare!  

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Fried Squash Blossoms
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
2minutes
PREP TIME
25minutes
READY IN
30 - 40minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the batter by mixing the flour, salt, pepper and beer in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk, and let rest for 20 min.
  2. Meanwhile, gently pry open each flower and remove the yellow stamen inside (tweezers work well for this). Delicately rinse, if needed, and lay gently on paper towels to dry.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the oil until it registers 350 degrees on a thermometer, and maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process.
  4. Carefully, run each flower through the batter and drag along the inside of the mixing bowl to remove the excess batter before laying it in the oil.
  5. Fry until crisp and golden on each side, flipping only once, about 2 min. per side.
  6. Remove with tongs and drain quickly on a paper towel lined tray.
  7. If desired, before serving, mist with a warm salt water spray and serve immediately. Andiamo mangiare!

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