Farmers market report: Squash blossoms are in season. We have recipes

Squash blossoms for a dish at Orsa & Winston.
Squash blossoms for a dish at Orsa & Winston.
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

What’s in season: Squash blossoms, the vibrant orange and yellow preludes to zucchini and other abundant squash that typically flood the stands later in the summer, are available now at various farmers markets. The large but delicate blossoms should be used quickly after bringing them home, no more than a day or so after purchase. Flowers with long slender stalks are male blossoms; the blossoms with the hint of a baby squash at the end are female.

What to cook: Edible squash blossoms carry the faint flavor of the squash itself, and can be used raw or cooked. Slice or add raw blossoms to salads or use as a garnish to give a dish extra color or flavor, or sauté the whole blossoms in oil with a touch of garlic just until softened. You can stuff the blossoms with cheese or other fillings, while the flowers can be baked or battered and fried and served with a squeeze or lemon or a bright aioli.

What’s on the horizon: Cherries are just hitting the markets, with early varieties such as Burlat turning up at select stands. Other stone fruits including apricots and peaches are also beginning to show up.



Total time: 1 hour | Serves 6 to 8
Note: Adapted from Matt Molina, formerly of Osteria Mozza. Squash blossoms are available at farmers markets.

1 pound ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound low-moisture mozzarella, cut in small cubes
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in small cubes
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
16 to 18 squash blossoms
3/4 cup rice flour
3/4 cup sparkling water
Canola oil for frying
Sea salt
Lemon juice

1. Pass the ricotta through a food mill or fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the eggs, low-moisture mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg and salt. Taste and add more salt or nutmeg if necessary.

2. Stuff each squash blossom with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture, being careful not to overstuff -- the ricotta should not be forcing its way out of the flower. Figure 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per blossom.


3. Place the rice flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in enough sparkling water to make a batter the thickness of light cream, about three-fourths of a cup. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set the bowl with the batter in the ice bath to keep it cold.

4. Fill a deep, wide pan with canola oil to a depth of at least 2 inches. Heat over high heat to 375 degrees. Dredge the stuffed squash blossoms in the batter, making sure they are completely covered, then drop them into the hot oil, frying only 3 or 4 at a time to avoid overcrowding. Fry until the blossoms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove the blossoms to a tray lined with paper towels to drain briefly, then transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few drops of lemon juice and serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 457 calories; 18 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 35 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 123 mg. cholesterol; 598 mg.


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