Squash blossoms have a delicate flavor and their tender petals are a beautiful pale green and goldenrod. In Italy, they are stuffed with mozzarella or ricotta, anchovies, garlic, fresh herbs, or simply battered and fried. They are an elegant late Summer appetizer.
Fried Squash Blossoms with Piquillo Pepper Sauce
For Squash Blossoms
1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta (drained in cheesecloth for at least 1 hour)
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup finely chopped mint or parsley
salt and pepper
12 to 16 large zucchini squash blossoms, stamens removed and well-cleaned
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chilled seltzer or club soda
About 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
For Piquillo Pepper Puree
1/2 cup jarred piquillo peppers (4 oz)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tblsp sherry vinegar
pinch of cayenne
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the piquillo pepper puree
1. In a food processor, combine piquillo peppers, garlic, sherry vinegar, cayenne and puree. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. Season with salt and pepper.
For the squash blossoms
1. Combine ricotta, egg yolk, mint or parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Cut the tip off one corner of a ziploc bag and place filling in the bag. Open the flowers and use the ziploc bag to pipe 1 tablespoon of the filling in each flower. Gently press the filling into the base of the flower. Cover with the petals and twist the top to seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a cast iron Dutch oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, seltzer water, and some salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Hold the squash blossoms by the stem. Dip each into the batter, making sure to coat completely. Let any excess batter drip off. Place the blossoms in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning often to brown evenly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately with piquillo pepper sauce.