Gourmet Eats at Café McVirgo

After my visit to the farmer’s market on Saturday, I needed some recipes for squash blossoms, and fast, ’cause those little suckers spoil faster than you can say Larousse Gastronomique. I remembered coming across a recipe in one of my cookbooks that had you stuff the blossoms with goat cheese and fry them, which sounded fascinating — I don’t remember if it’s in the Joy of Cooking or Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, but I haven’t unearthed my cookbooks from our sea of boxes, so I took the easy way out and searched online. I found some good
things here, and I used the simple beer batter recipe I found there, but I made a stuffing more like this one. Oh, okay, click Mr. Readmore for the whole recipe, filched from the links above with my editorial comments:

The Batter:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fat-free chilled milk, beer or water; (use beer!)

The Filling:
3 ounces goat cheese (chèvre, not feta, thankyouverymuch)
3 ounces cream cheese (I used neufchatel cuz I have to watch my girlish figure)
1 clove garlic, minced
minced fresh green onion to taste
minced fresh oregano to taste (dried is okay — fresh herbs can be a hassle)
minced fresh basil to taste (dried basil? are you crazy?)
salt and pepper to taste (the cheese is salty enough)

18 squash blossoms
Oil for frying
Grated Parmesan and snipped chives for garnish

Gently swish the squash blossoms in cold water to clean, then drain thoroughly on paper towels. (If you put them directly under running water, they’ll disintegrate.) Remove the stamens. I removed the stems and “hips” as well, but you could leave part of the stems on as “holders.” I don’t think you’d want to eat the stems, though.

Mix up the batter and let it chill for a bit. Mix the filling ingredients together. (Easiest if the cheese is at room temp. I softened in the microwave at 70% power. Just be careful not to fry it.)

Heat a 1/2-inch of oil (I used Canola) to 375 degrees. Fill each blossom with a dollop of the cheese mixture; twist it gently to close. Dredge the blossoms in the batter, then slip them into the hot oil. They only take a couple minutes to cook; turn them over halfway through. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Garnish with the Parmesan and chives.

For the actual frying part, it’s easiest if you have 2 people working: one to dip the blossoms in batter and set them in the oil, the other to turn them and take them out of the frying pan. This way, McDoc and I were able to cook them up pretty efficiently. You’ll want to clean off your stovetop and any nearby surfaces soon after you do this though, as frying in oil results in oily residue everywhere. (I have turned over a new leaf and am working to transcend my former identity as the World’s Worst Housekeeper. It’s good for one’s all-around health, physical and mental.)

Here’s a picture of what the finished product looks like (ours weren’t as perfect-looking, but they were delicious!): clicky here.

Boy, were they yummy! But you have to eat them right away, cuz cold fried food is nasty. It occurred to me they would be excellent served with a roasted red pepper coulis. We didn’t make that, but we had a jar of red pepper and eggplant sauce from Trader Joe’s, which went very nicely.

My next culinary adventure will involve baby bok choy — stay tuned…


Comments

Gourmet Eats at Café McVirgo — 1 Comment

  1. Squash blossoms? You mean take the flowers off the plant before it turns into squash? I’d’a never thunkit.

    BTW, dried basil is OK if you let the leaves dry *on the plant* and store them whole in a sealed baggie. Crumble up what you need when you’re ready to use it. You can’t exactly make pesto with it; but for flavoring sauces in those otherwise basil-less winter months, it’s fine.

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