Thursday, August 27, 2015

stuffed squash blossoms

My parents have lived next door to the same Italian couple my entire life. They have a big family: kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, extended relatives (if you know anything about Italian families, everyone is an aunt, uncle or cousin) yet they always treat us like family too.

That means sending over THE BEST freshly baked bread, sharing lasagna tips and tricks, (often unsolicited) advice on taming the fig tree and even giving my parents the keys to their house in Sicily to stay during their recent trip.

What I have taken away from them after 27 years of living next door was the access to fresh produce that I had never even seen before and another source of cooking inspiration. I have made it no secret that my parents are fantastic cooks and a lot of what I have learned is from them. But our neighbors inspire me with their simple approach to food.

One day my dad caught one of their daughters picking the flowers off our squash branches. He was curious about it but didn't mind and they continued to stock up on these flowers. Then he finally inquired about why they were so valuable and she said "because you can eat them."

"Wait, what?" We have been growing squash my WHOLE life and never knew about this. I've heard of edible flowers but this was exciting--we had been growing these all along with the intention of getting squash, not knowing there was a second, secret food that we could stuff, bake or fry and eat.

Yep, you can stuff these delicate flowers with cheese, bread or flour them and crisp them up into delicious little flavor packets.

(I did a cheese only, non-fried version below, but you can stuff them with sausage, add breadcrumbs instead of a second layer of flour and even fry them in oil on the stovetop just as easily. I tried to make it a little lighter.)

stuffed squash blossoms
(serves 2)
4 large flowers (about 2 1/2 inches long), or 6-8 small flowers
1/4 cup of whole milk ricotta
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano
1 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp minced parsley
2 eggs, whisked in separate bowls
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix your filling by combining one of the eggs, the ricotta, pecorino, basil, parsley salt and pepper. add any other seasonings you like-oregano or crushed red pepper would be good
  • prepare your breading station by filling a bowl with the seasoned flour and placing next to the whisked egg
  • line a baking sheet with foil
  • carefully open up the flower and take out the pistils (wow. I actually remembered this class from science class)

tip: its ok if the flower tears slightly, just be extremely gentle with it and only allow one side to tear so you can seal it back up

  • spoon about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the mixture into each flower, close on the side with a toothpick
  • dredge each stuffed flower in flour, then egg, then flour again and place on baking sheet
  • drizzle olive oil carefully over each
  • place in oven for 15-25 minutes, until a light golden brown. turn over halfway through
  • remove the toothpick after cooking and serve with a cream or tomato sauce, or eat as is

Let me know what you guys think!

By the way--did you see I am looking for guest bloggers? You don't have to be a blogger already or even a recipe maven- I am just looking to add some recipes here that are outside what I usually make and mix things up a bit. 

E-mail me at if you are interested!

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