Even though we STILL haven’t finished unpacking all the boxes and totally organizing our new house (I know, I know), we do love our new neighborhood. We’re close to a lot of awesome restaurants and shops, a gorgeous running path along the Potomac, and the one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the U.S.
Like, George Washington sent his produce from Mount Vernon to be sold here. For real.
Some day I hope to have the presence of mind to bring my camera and take some photos of the farmers’ market, but I tend not to be thinking super clearly before noon on Saturday. Luckily, I have been able to at least make it out of bed and over to Market Square to check out the produce.
When my mom was here, we had already picked up some apples, pears, sweet potatoes, pesto, ricotta cheese and pumpkin ravioli when we spotted these squash blossoms. Neither of us had ever had them before, so clearly I had to get them.
In case you haven’t seen them before, squash blossoms are orange flowers that grow on zucchini and other summer squashes. I looked in a few of my cookbooks and found various recipes for fried squash blossoms, but you can also use them in other things (like quesadillas!). They do need to be used pretty soon after you buy them, though.
Since we already had ricotta cheese, I decided to go with a recipe that called for mixing some herbs together with the cheese and then piping it into the flowers before breading and frying them. You do have to carefully open the petals and remove the stamen (the little stalk in the middle with pollen on it) first, but I didn’t take photos of that because I didn’t want to get pollen all over my camera.
I tend to be a little scared of frying (I’m not a big fan of ridiculously hot oil), but these were pretty easy. We threw our Fry Daddy away, so I just used some canola oil in a frying pan. The end result wasn’t pretty, but it was good. And it sounds fancy, right?
Fried squash blossoms with ricotta (Adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market)
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese per blossom
Fresh basil (about a tablespoon chopped for 1 cup cheese)
Salt and pepper
1-2 beaten eggs
Oil for frying
Remove the stamens from the squash blossoms and then rinse the flowers.
Chop the basil and stir it with the ricotta cheese, then stir in a pinch of salt and pepper. Spoon the cheese mixture into a piping bag with a large regular tip or a large Ziploc bag with a small hole cut on one corner.
Pipe about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each blossom. Then roll each blossom in the flour, dunk it in the egg and roll it in the flour again.
Heat the oil (I used canola) in a deep-sided frying pan to 375F. Make sure you don’t fill the pan more than halfway with oil. Fry the blossoms a few at a time, turning then once. After 3-4 minutes they should be golden brown. Remove the blossoms from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Let the oil heat back up before starting the next batch.
Serve immediately or transfer to a 200F oven to keep warm.