Summer’s Fleeting Pleasures; Pan-Fried Squash Blossoms

 

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Zucchini and other squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and deep-fried is a classic summer dish that we can’t seem to get enough of. The beautiful blossoms don’t last for long before they start to mature into the aforementioned vegetable, so grab a posy of them and a little soft cheese and let’s get stuffing while the blossoms are still in abundance.

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We decided to pan-fry the blossoms instead of deep frying, and though they can be baked too, we we didn’t want to turn on the oven in this hot weather; besides, pan-frying over medium heat on each side only takes a couple of minutes.
To clean the blossom, open it up as delicately as you can and pinch out the little stamen in the centre, they are now ready for stuffing. You can use any soft cheese you like, like mascarpone, ricotta or chevre. We used Ruth Klahsen’s incredibly delicious water buffalo fresco mixed with a little chopped herbs-chives, thyme and parsley- to taste. This was then scooped into the blossoms which we then laid on a plate and put into the fridge for about half an hour to firm up. After half an hour we subjected the blossoms to a very light standard breading; each stuffed flower was lightly dusted with flour, then dipped in egg wash and then sprinkled with a little Panko seasoned with salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne.

 

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Heat a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter in your frying pan to medium heat, until the oil bubbles, and gently transfer the blossoms, one at a time into the pan. Let them bubble along for about two minutes, gently turning the pan around a little to bathe the sides of the blossoms a bit. Using your kitchen tongs, turn the blossoms over and fry the other side for about another two minutes or until the blossoms have obtained the same lovely golden brown colour. Remove the blossoms one at a time and lay them on a plate covered with paper towel. You can serve them right away or set aside for later. If that’s the case, give them a quick reheat in a hot oven, maybe use your toaster oven for this.

The blossoms came out beautifully; crunchy on the outside and meltingly soft in the centre with no greasy residue on the palate or the fingers. Served over a salad of farm fresh baby lettuces with radish and wonderful pea shoots, they are sure to be a big hit with your family or dinner guests.Bonus: after the dessert is served there is no huge pan of oil to clean up, and no scent of deep-frying in the air and the kitchen won’t be a hundred degrees.

 

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