Fried Squash Blossoms

Serves

Chefs prize the tender blossoms of zucchini and other summer squashes. Here we've stuffed the blossoms with soft cheese, but they can also be battered and fried without any stuffing. If you wish, you can skip the batter and just sauté the blossoms in olive oil for a healthier version. If you use male blossoms, pull off the dark green calyxes around the base of the blossoms and discard.


Ingredients

12 small zucchini or summer squash blossoms
1/2 cup goat cheese or Boursin cheese
  vegetable oil
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beer or ale
  Sea salt


Directions

Open the blossoms carefully and check inside for insects. Pinch off and discard the cluster of stamens in the center of each blossom. Stuff each blossom with some of the cheese, then press the petals around the filling and pinch the tops closed. Don't overfill the blossoms or frying them will get very messy.

Pour vegetable oil to a depth of at least 1 inch in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Place over high heat and bring the oil to 375 degrees F.

Meanwhile, place the flour in a small bowl and whisk in the beer. The consistency should be like pancake batter, so add more beer as needed.

One at a time, dip the entire blossom into the batter, then carefully transfer to the hot oil. Don't crowd the pan; cook in small batches. Fry, turning once or twice with tongs, until the blossoms are golden brown and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels briefly, then sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.

 

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