Crisp Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Feta and Mint
Recipe by Marie Simmons, Illustration by Helen Krayenhoff
A bagful of squash blossoms from the farmers market sent me back a few decades to my childhood. My mother harvested the blossoms from the tangled zucchini patch in our garden, dipped them in egg and flour, and fried them in olive oil. We sat on the back porch and ate them like some kids eat peanuts. Here is Mom’s basic recipe. The feta and mint are my additions. Mom would have used a square of mozzarella or Pecorino Romano.
12 or more squash blossoms, preferably with stems attached (stems make good handles)
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more, if needed
1 to 2 large eggs
Feta cheese, cut into ⅓-inch pieces (one for each blossom)
Mint leaves, torn into small pieces (one for each blossom)
Olive or other vegetable oil
Examine the blossoms closely to make sure there aren’t any bugs hiding inside. Do not rinse the delicate blossoms.
Place the flour on a large shallow plate. Whisk the egg or eggs and 2 tablespoons water in a shallow soup bowl until blended. Make a small slit in the side of each blossom near the stem end and insert a piece of cheese and mint leaf.
Heat about ½ inch of olive oil in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle a crust of bread. Dip one squash blossom in the flour; shake off excess. Dip in beaten egg; let excess drip off. Coat with flour once again; shake off excess. As one blossom goes into the oil, the next one is coated, dipped, coated.
Fry blossoms in the hot oil, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady sizzle, until golden, about 1 minute per side. Turn with tongs. Do not allow the oil to smoke. Drain on paper and serve at once. Serves 4.
Watch for Marie Simmons’ upcoming cookbook, Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2011)