Monday, August 1, 2011

DIY almanac: roasted zucchini and stuffed squash blossoms

I'm a little bumned to admit that the rabbits and slugs got to my zucchini starts this season. Pretty shocking since zucchini is so easy to grow. I had my second garden patch too far down the hill I suppose, where these garden fiends could run rampant and undetected, nibbling and munching away to their heart's content. Luckily, I sell produce for a farmer who always has the coolest crops, so I can always get my favorite veggies from him. One of the specialties that he brings along are his baby zucchini squash with their blossoms still attached. The zucchini is tender and sweet and roasts up very quickly and their big, orange blossoms can be stuffed and made into an ambrosial treat. These baby squash can be found now, out in your garden if you have them growing (you can also use pumpkin blossoms), or you might find them at a farmers market. Here's how I like to prepare them for a nice, summer meal:

Roasted Baby Zucchini with Parmesan and Pepper

A dozen baby zucchini
A big handful of parmesan
Black pepper to taste
1 to 2 caps of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice zucchinis in half and arrange, belly-up, on a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Evenly drizzle the oil over them, then generously sprinkle with parmesan and pepper. Roast in the oven while you prep the squash blossoms, or until the cheese is a golden brown. You can also broil the baby zucchini at the last minute to really amp up the carmelization of the cheese.

Stuffed and Tempured Squash Blossoms

A dozen squash blossoms
1 small package of chevre goat cheese or a soft cheese of your choice
1 small chopped sweet onion
1 to 2 tablespoons of cream or milk
Optional stuffing: chopped walnuts or pinenuts, green onions or basil
2 cups canola oil
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
Salt, to taste

Prepare a plate with a piece of paper towel or brown paper (much like you would for making bacon). Mix the cheese, cream, onion and any other stuffing additives in a small bowl. Gently untwist the blossoms and stuff with the cheese mixture, either using a small spoon or a pastry piper (you can also cut a corner off a ziploc bag if you don't have a piper). Re-twist the blossoms shut. Start heating the canola oil in a sauce pot over medium-high heat until you start to see little traces or legs in the oil. You don't want it to be too hot though-no boiling or smoking! Lightly mix the flour, sparkling water and salt in a bowl, then start coating the squash blossoms one by one and then drop them in the oil until their batter becomes light, puffy and a little bit golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove each blossom and allow them to rest on the plate with the paper towel. Enjoy with your roasted baby zucchini and a glass of lemonade.

No comments:

Post a Comment