Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's Cookin'

Ricotta Goat Cheese and Herb Stuffed Squash Blossoms w/ a Balsamic Reduction

A number of weeks ago Melissa, Sarah, myself and some of our friends got together to experiment with the blossoms from our squash plant growing in the GroW Community Garden on H street. Blossoms are tender, delicate and have a hint of floral sweetness. They are easy to prepare and make a nice presentation.

There are various ways to prepare the blossoms, but a simple and favorite way of mine is to stuff them with a good cheese and then gently pan fry them. First, you want to very carefully open up the top of the flower and with tweezers, break off and remove the stamen, the long pointy thing inside the flower, which is very bitter.

I find it helpful to gently blow on the petals to help separate them from one another before trying to remove the stamen.

Stamen free
For the filling we mixed together goat cheese, ricotta, a generous handful of  fresh lemon basil, salt and pepper. But any soft cheese and herb mixture would be great. Another variation I would like to try is ricotta, freshly grated Parmesan, lemon basil, some lemon zest, salt and pepper.

The cheese and herb mixture can either be spooned into the flower or piped in. I find it easiest to fill a plastic bag with the mixture and snip off one corner to create an opening for piping. 

Fill the flower to the top

Then take the petals and wrap them together to seal the blossom so that the cheese mixture doesn't ooze out while cooking, though some will.

Here is where we made a mistake, we did not dredge the stuffed blossoms in a bit of egg before pan frying them. However, I would suggest doing so! Dredge the blossoms in egg and shake off the excess, then place the blossoms in a skillet with hot olive oil. Let them brown lightly on both sides. You can stop at this point and serve immediately as is, or you can drizzle with a balsamic reduction like we did.
Simply heat balsamic vinegar and a bit of sugar in a sauce pan until it is reduced and thick like a syrup.
Then drizzle it over the blossoms and enjoy!

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