Crispy fried squash blossoms filled with creamy herb and lemon ricotta cheese. Served with a fresh sweet Heirloom tomato sauce. This simple and stunning appetizer will leave your guests asking for more!
The summer season yields not only delicious summer squash but mother nature produces wonderful bright orange edible blossoms. You can typically find these eye-catching blooms at your local farmers market. I purchased mine on a recent visit to Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market.
I have always been curious about how I should cook these beautiful flowers, so I asked the grower of Sweredoski Farms on some creative ways to serve these intriguing ingredients. The passionate farmer suggested eating these blossoms raw, sautéed, baked or fried. With all of the mouth-watering options to choose from, I decided to make fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta lemon herb filling.
Squash blossoms flowers are sold either attached to the squash or separated. I love squash, so seeing the mini sized vegetables with flowers still connected looked even more delicious, and I was able to get the best of both worlds!
The tender and delicate squash blossoms require a little TLC, be careful not to rip the petals off as you gently remove the pistol from the center of the flower. You can fill the blossom with any of your favorite ingredients such as fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, mushrooms, shrimp, fresh herbs, the combinations are endless!
To create the perfect crispy and golden brown coating
I decided to experiment with two different types of batter:
- A combination of all-purpose and cake flour: The protein content in the cake flour is lower, so this helps provide a lighter coating when combined with regular flour as less gluten formation occurs. This layer was still crunchy, yet thicker but not as crispy. This type of coating would work better with protein like fish or more hearty frying ingredients, however, if you like a thicker texture, it’s a great option.
- Gluten-free flour: I used Cup 4 Cup, a flour blend combination of cornstarch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, milk powder, tapioca flour, potato starch and xanthan gum. These ingredients do not contain gluten, so the protein bonding does not occur as intensely, resulting in a weaker batter. When using the gluten-free flour, the coating was delightfully much lighter and crispier than the regular flour alternative. The texture reminded me much more of a Japanese tempura coating which was perfect for the delicate squash blossoms.
Both coatings gave the crispiness and golden brown color I was hoping for. It’s just a matter of personal preference if you enjoy something lighter or a little denser. I have included both options in the recipe, so if you feel adventurous, try them both!
To make the savory fried squash blossoms even more irresistible, I made a sweet and delicate dipping sauce. To my delight, heirloom tomatoes are also in season, so I made a pure herb tomato sauce, the perfect compliment to the crispy blossoms.
I created a quick video of the recipe, enjoy:
Things to know about deep frying
Using a liquid like soda or beer to incorporate into the batter helps to lighten the coating. The bubbles (carbon dioxide) becomes integrated into the mixture, resulting in a light a crispy exterior! When deep frying food, you want to use a vegetable oil like soybean, peanut and canola oil that have high smoke points (when the oil begins to break down). To achieve the perfect golden brown color, temperatures between 325°F and 400°F are used for deep frying; 375°F is used for the fried squash blossom recipe. These high temperatures allow for quick cooking, surface browning, and yummy aromas to be developed.