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Naturally, this sounds better in Italian: Fiore di Zuchine Ripeni….but then again, so do most things.

Frank and I had a version of this a few years ago when we were taking cooking lessons from a nice lady named Viviana, who lived with her husband in a 14th-c villa outside of Florence in a little town called Grassina.

Last year, what inspired me to make this was the profusion of blossoms off some volunteer squash plants. We compost, and every year when I spread the prior summer & fall additions, invariably some really random things sprout. We’ll get the odd tomato plant here and there, but we’ve had watermelons, pumpkins and now….squash. And a lot of it.

If you have squash plants…and you’re terrified by the potential yield volume, nip it in the bud (so to speak) and devour the flowers before they have a chance to grow into something you have to beg your neighbors to help you eat.

We made these for an appetizer friends…and they were amazing!

Harvesting tip: pick the blossoms in the morning, when they’re in full bloom. Make sure you have some of the green stem; you’ll need to have the flower closed on that end in order to help keep the filling in place.

Credit Where Credit is Due: I found this recipe on the99centchef.blogspot.com. I’ve modified it a bit.


Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Serves 4-6

12 squash blossoms, rinsed (+ I cut out most of the stamen with a pair of kitchen shears) and long stem removed

4 oz of ricotta cheese (note: any soft cheese like cream cheese or shredded cheese or a combo would work)

handful of fresh chopped herbs (I used what was in the garden yesterday: parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary) (OK to sub dried herbs…about 1/2-1 t will do)

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 olive oil – just enough to cover the bottom of your frying pan

Batter:

1/4 c flour (or…if you’re on the gluten-free train: sub rice flour)

1/4 c corn starch

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 c beer +

1 egg

salt & pepper to taste

**********

1. Allow cheese to come to room temperature. Add chopped herbs and mix.

2. Stuff each blossom with about 1 t of cheese mixture (will vary depending on size of flower).

3. Mix batter ingredients in shallow bowl for dipping (a glass pie plate works beautifully). The consistency should be thinner than pancake batter, so add more beer if needed.

4. Add olive oil to frying pan over medium heat. Test oil in pan with a drop of batter. It’s ready when the batter starts to bubble and fry.

5. Dip the stuffed squash blossom into batter, coating it on all sides (I found rolling it helped). Pick up coated blossom and let excess batter drain. Place blossom into pan.

6. Turn the blossom when edges just start to lightly brown. You’re not going for “fried chicken” brown, more of a “Japanese tempura” color. I did just one blossom at a time; you can do more as long as you don’t crowd them in the pan

7. When done on all sides, remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

8. Be careful of the first bite!!!! It will be HOT….let it sit for a bit!

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