Zucchini season is quickly coming to a close. Before all those beautiful green and yellow squash are replaced by apples and turnips, I urge you to fry up some cheese-filled squash blossoms. There's literally only a few weeks before they disappear, so the time is now, people. Like a burger cooked on a backyard grill, or a margarita on a roof deck, or soft serve from the neighborhood ice cream truck, this is essential summer eating.
Serve them up solo with some cocktails, or use them as a garnish for a salad or cold soup. They're the farmer's market equivalent of Lay's.
Ricotta-filled squash blossoms
This recipe might look time-consuming, but it's easy once you get the hang of it. If you're having people over, just use your guests as an assembly line. Have one person fill the blossoms, another person batter them, and someone else fry them. And then you can eat them all. Kidding! (Serves 4 to 6 people)
12 squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese (you can also substitute a soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. finely chopped basil, plus 1 Tbsp. extra
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, 1 egg, lemon zest, and basil. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator. Carefully open each squash blossom to make sure there are no bugs inside. Most blossoms are clean, but if yours are sandy or dirty, gently brush them off with a damp paper towel. Pour the ricotta filling into a resealable plastic bag and cut off one corner, to make a piping bag. Line up your blossoms and pipe the filling into each blossom, filling it halfway (below). Pinch the leaves shut to seal the filling inside.
When all of the blossoms are filled, beat an egg in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the flour onto a dinner plate. Dip each blossom it into the egg, shake off any excess, then roll in the the flour. Set each flour-coated blossom aside until all are done.
Pour the oil into a deep pot and heat on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (a bead of water should dance when you flick it in the oil), fry the blossoms in small batches. Cook for about three minutes on each side, turning with a pair of forks. When the blossoms are golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a paper-towel lined plate. When all of the blossoms are fried, sprinkle with salt and basil leaves and serve immediately.