Saturdays are meant for Farmers’ Market. It’s just a simple fact. I love year-round Farmers’ Markets, but you can’t beat the produce available this time of year. I attend my local market religiously. Doing so has been a great way for me to really get to know my farmers. I always buy the same produce off the same farmers. Nothing beats a Gritt’s tomato. La Ja has the ripest blackberries. The past two Saturdays I’ve gotten to know a new (to me) farmer. Her table set up caught my eye because she had one bag of sunflower sprouts out for purchase and one she was snacking on. We immediately got to talking about nutrition. It’s rare to find someone who grows microgreens in my area. Likewise, it’s rare for a farmer to find someone who already knows about microgreens. This past weekend I visited her again hopeful to find some more microgreens. Sadly she did not. However, she did have beautiful flowers on her table…
Turns out they were squash blossoms. Squash blossoms are edible flowers that produce squash–in this case zucchini, but sometimes others like spaghetti squash. I had heard of edible flowers before and even seen them used. I was curious how she used them, since I had only seen them used on plating decoration. She provided me with her family’s favorite way to eat them. Squash blossoms are very delicate and parish quickly. She recommended I eat them that day or the next, or else I wouldn’t get use out of them. To store them, she said to dampen a kitchen towel and gently wrap them in the damp towel to keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Since researching squash blossoms, I found a few different ways to prepare them. You can stuff them to pan fry like I did in this recipe. This generally seems to be the most come way done in the States. You can stuff and bake, and even top with a tomato sauce. This is probably what I would have preferred to have done. I’m not big on frying. You can chop and add to a pasta. You can also chop and add to a quesadilla. This is a popular dish in Mexican culture and one I think I would enjoy the most. If I’m lucky enough to find squash blossoms in my area again, this is the dish I’ll make next.
I didn’t have much time to research them before we had to eat them, so I followed the farmer’s rough recipe: stuff with cream cheese, coat in a beaten egg, and lightly pan fry on both sides. Oh, and be sure to eat the bulb. The bulb located right where the steam and flower meet provides the best bite. She wasn’t kidding! I seriously recommend to save the bulb to eat without anything else in the bite to fully enjoy the flavor of it. It’s that good! It’s like an explosion of flavor.
Okay, let’s get started.
We came home straight home from the market. I damped a kitchen towel and gently wrapped the blossoms in the towel. I stored them in the fridge until lunch the next day.
I inspected the flowers for critters. I had seen multiple bees on the flowers at the market! I did find one small crawling creature, so I washed him down the drain (sorry little dude, but I don’t do bugs). I only washed that flower off. They’re very delicate and I wanted to avoid destroying them. I plucked these tiny green stems off. My farmer said they don’t provide a good taste to the dish so off they went! I left the long stem on because it made a good handle. We didn’t consume any of the stems, although the entire flower is edible (stems included).
My flowers were looking a little down since it’d been 24 hours since I had brought them home. I pinched the lower, sturdier part of each leaf on the flower to pull them back. Once I got them all opened, I stuffed each with cream cheese. I eyeballed how much cream cheese I put in. I’d say it was roughly a little under a table spoon–which was way too much! Less is definitely more. Trust me on this.
I pinched the top of the flower together and twisted, to close off the blossom and keep the cheese stuffed inside. I beat one egg and heated enough EVOO in my pan to coat. Holding the flowers by the stem, I dipped each one in the beaten egg and coated before transferring to the pan for frying. You want to make sure your oil is very hot for this! Let fry on each side for a few minutes. Watch very carefully! These are very delicate flowers and can burn quickly if unattended (personal experience–don’t try to transfer a load of laundry at the same time, oops).
Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to allow the oil to drain off and cool. Aaron and I each had 3 of the blossoms and paired it with a plate of pocket pitas stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus, tomato slice, and cucumber slice. It was such a yummy and filling lunch!
- 6 squash blossoms
- 8 oz of cream cheese (or ricotta cheese)
- 1 egg
- Enough EVOO to coat pan
- Inspect squash blossoms for tiny creatures (yes, be careful not to get stung!). Only wash blossoms if you find a critter, otherwise I'm told it is fine to skip washing.
- Gently tear tiny green stems off flower, leaving the long stems to use as handle later.
- Open each blossom by pinching the lower portion of the flower (where it's sturdier and less likely to tear). Stuff each blossom with ~1-3 teaspoons of cream cheese. Close off blossom by pinching top of flower together and twisting.
- Beat one egg in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat pan with enough EVOO to coat.
- Coat each stuffed blossom in egg, transferring to pan to fry.
- Fry on each side for a few minutes, watching closely.
- Transfer to plate lined with paper towel to drain and cool.