Tempura Fried, Triple Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms
As the weather starts to get cooler and the leaves on the trees start changing to their autumnal colors, we are reminded that winter is right around the corner. More importantly, these changes signal that soup season is here! This is the time of year when there is almost always a pot of soup or stock simmering on my stove. Soups are wonderfully nutritious, soul-satisfying and most of all…super tasty. Soups can run the spectrum of very complicated, taking multiple days to finish or insanely simple and able to come together very quick with the help of some pantry staples like high-quality canned beans. This soup is a prime example of the latter. It is a variation on the classic Italian soup of Sausage, White Bean & Escarole soup made a bit more autumnal with the addition of roasted winter squash and maple syrup. The great thing about soup is that there are endless variations and combinations making soup the most efficient way to clean out your fridge! This soup would be equally delicious made with kale, or another squash like Kabocha. I used Italian sausage because that’s what I had stashed away in my freezer, but any sausage would work, especially a Chicken & Apple sausage. Best thing about soup is that freezes well so make a big pot and pack your freezer for that chilly winter day when you don’t feel like leaving your house. Get creative. Have fun. Soup season is here!
In my opinion, squash blossoms are a must-try in the world of edible flowers. The beautiful blossoms are delicate and delicious, and can be eaten raw or cooked. I grew up most of my life not knowing these were the summer cuisine I was missing out on.
Squash blossoms are prepared a number of different ways throughout the world. In Italy, you may find these delicate blossoms stuffed with cheese and fried (as this recipe showcases). In Spain, you are likely to find these blossoms made into fritters. While in Mexico, these blossoms are used as quesadilla stuffings and in soups.
These blossoms are rarely (if ever) stocked in your traditional supermarket. I always feel it is a special find when these blossoms are available at farm markets, farm stands, or through your local CSA (thank you Taproot Farm!).
I hope you all enjoy this recipe for scrumptious, puffy bites of fresh squash blossom with a crispy tempura shell and melting cheese inside. I like to accompany mine with a drizzle of local honey for a touch of sweetness.
There’s really not much else to compare. Happy eating! Directions
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine together the ricotta, asiago and basil. Set aside.
2. Start to warm your oil on medium heat in a frying ban. You want about an inch of oil in the pan.
3. While the oil is warming, gently stuff your squash blossoms (be VERY careful with this) with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of cheese/basil filling depending on the blossom’s size. I use a small 1/4 teaspoon to do this. Some people will pipe the mix in. Twist the ends of the blossoms gently to close. Do not over stuff the blossoms or they may leak during frying.
4. Once squash blossoms are filled, set aside. In a small bowl, mix all-purpose flour and baking powder. Mix the seltzer in slowly in a few parts until everything is well combined and forms the tempura coating.
5. Next, gently dip your squash blossoms in the tempura mix to evenly coat. Let extra tempura mix drip off. I rested these on parchment paper. Line a plate with paper towel/cloth towel or have a cooling rack with towel underneath ready (my favorite way to cool/drain these so they don’t get soggy).
6. Add blossoms gently to heated oil (I did two rounds not to overcrowd). Gently brown on each side and flip in oil until all sides are crispy and lightly browned.
7. Place blossoms on towel or cooling rack, repeat process as needed and allow to cool.
8. Serve blossoms with extra basil, black pepper and dipping sauce of choice if desired.
Alysha Melnyk is the Founder and Content Creator of The Kitchenologist©, a food blog dedicated to healthy eating and kitchen experiments. Melnyk combined her background in biology with her passion for making food delicious, eye-catching, and accessible. When she’s not cooking in the kitchen or dreaming up a recipe, Melnyk works full time as an Implementation Specialist at ECRI, an international medical nonprofit located in suburban Philadelphia that is dedicated to improving patient safety worldwide. Melnyk finds her many career passions revolve around the power of knowledge and that equipping people with the right tools and resources will help them make better informed decisions.