Summer squash or zucchini blossoms are one of the summer’s special treats! Delicate in flavor and texture, they are a delightful vessel for tangy, creamy fresh ricotta cheese and fresh basil. All the tasty treasures of springtime in a delicious mouthful!
Some traditional recipes call for a batter coating and to deep fry the blossoms but I prefer to broil these blossoms which keeps them lighter in flavor and richness. It also significantly makes less of a mess to clean up! I also use a combination of traditional bread crumbs which coat the blossoms easily and Panko crumbs which give the coating extra crunch to make this savory starter even more satisfying!
Makes 4 stuffed blossoms
Total Prep time: 2 hours
- 4 cups of whole milk
- 4 Tbl of white vinegar
- 2 Tbl of kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 10 large fresh basil leaves, sliced into a chiffonade or minced
- 1 Tbl minced fresh garlic
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 4 small squash blossoms
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ cup traditional bread crumbs
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbl Lawry’s season salt
- Spray olive oil
- Medium microwavable bowl(non-reactive) or 2 cup glass measuring cup
- A non-reactive spoon like wood or silicon
- Cheesecloth or cheese bag
- Tall glass like a pint glass or small vase
- 1 small mixing bowl
- 2 small cereal bowls
- 1 chef’s knife
- Baking tray
Ricotta: 1 hour
- Combine milk, vinegar, and salt in the microwave-safe
- Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes looking for when bubbles start to appear around the edges
- Remove from microwave (watch out that the bowl is hot!) and immediately stir with a wooden or another non-reactive spoon until the curds have clearly separated from the whey.
- Spoon curds out of whey into cheesecloth that has been placed in a tall vessel. The vessel, like a tall pint glass or vase, needs to be tall enough that the curds can rest above the whey as it drains off of the ricotta.
- Please fresh ricotta in the refrigerator while the curds are draining from the remaining milk liquid. The longer the ricotta drained then the firmer the curds will be. I prefer one hour of draining when making ricotta.
To make the ricotta filling:
- Give the ricotta one final squeeze before transferring the curds to small non-reactive bowl.
- Wash and stack the basil leaves before slicing them into small ribbons or mincing
- Combine the minced basil, ricotta, minced garlic and S/P in the small bowl
- Mix until all ingredients are combined
To stuff the squash blossoms:
- Rinse and pat dry the squash blossoms when you are ready to use them. Do not rinse them beforehand or they may deteriorate.
- Carefully peel open the very top of the squash blossom to expose the inside of the flower while maintaining the “sides” of the blossom.
- Carefully remove the flower stamen with the fingers or spoon. Do not damage the “walls” of the blossom in this process
- Taking a golfball sized handful of ricotta filling, squeeze gently to create a cheese ball. Gently insert the cheese ball inside of the blossom. Top up the blossom with cheese if you still have room. Do not overstuff.
- Press the blossom petals together at the top of the blossom, encasing the cheese inside of the petals. Set aside and repeat with the other blossoms
To cook the stuffed squash blossoms:
This is not a recipe of precision. If you need more flour or egg or spice, add it!
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190c and set to broil.
- Place the flour in a shallow plate. Combine the Panko crumbs and season salt in a shallow plate and stir until thoroughly combined
- In a small bowl, add the fresh egg and beat until smooth.
- Arrange the plates in front of you in a horizontal row from left to right: Stuffed blossoms, egg, crumbs
- Place a piece of foil in front of you to be the final resting place of the prepared blossoms. If you have space, you can place the blossoms directly on the oiled baking sheet
- Using one hand, take one blossom and drip it into the egg until coated. Gently shake off any excess egg
- Using the same hand, roll the egg-covered blossom in the bread crumbs until crumbs have adhered to the egg and coat the entire outside of the blossom. You may need to rest the blossom in the plate and use your hand to cover or pat the crumbs into place
- Using the same hand, gently lift the coated blossom and place it on the foil and/or baking sheet
- Repeat with the remaining blossoms always using 1 hand for the dredging and coating process. It is just easier, less messy and you never know when you need to grab a new egg or add more crumbs to the mixture!
- Once all blossoms have been coated with crumbs and are arranged 2 inches apart from each other on the baking tray, spray the blossoms with oil olive to keep them from sticking to the tray and to help them crisp as the bake
- Place baking tray and blossoms approximately 6-4 inches below the broiler. After 4 or so minutes, the outside coating will start to brown on top, take the baking sheet out of the oven and turn the blossoms so the next section of the coated blossom is facing upwards towards the broiler. Replace the baking sheet under the broiler and wait another 4 minutes or until the coating crisps and browns. Continue to turn the blossoms, section by section, until the coating on the outside of the blossom is crispy and golden brown. This will take approximately 20 minutes in total. This method is healthier and less messy than traditional frying.
- Once the blossoms are golden brown and crisp, take the blossoms out of the oven and serve immediately. As this is a savory, herb recipe, I would serve with more pesto or straight. A drizzle Truffle oil is also a heady accompaniment to the blossoms. Enjoy!