Perhaps you're hesitant to eat a flower stuffed with cheese and then deep fried. Maybe they sound weird, or too rich or just too much work.
Because I love you and I really want you to make these, I'm going to tell you a truly embarrassing story. These are so mind-blowingly delicious that I quite literally ran down my neighbors who were on an evening walk and made them eat the last three of the nine that I made, merely because I felt someone besides Ben and I should get to experience the wonderfulness.
I'm not kidding – I chased them across the street and through the city park near our homes, all the while carrying a plate of squash blossoms and maniacally yelling their names. In the rain. And I was also covered in batter. (I looked good).
These were too yummy not to share with our sweet neighbors, and they are too yummy not to share with you!
First of all, you have to keep an eagle-eye out for zucchini blossoms, as they're only in season a few weeks of the summer – I got mine in our weekly organic farm share. It is absolutely acceptable to spend an hour on the phone calling every local farm in search of freshly picked, organic squash blossoms. Worth every second. I may or may not have done this in the past (more than once).
These are a perfect, satisfying, savory summer appetizer, so you don't need very many. I made nine and (mostly) satisfied four adults ... my husband is still a little miffed that I gave the last three away, but also appreciative, because they are rich.
Ben to our bitter 11-year-old who couldn't enjoy fried squash blossoms because she just had emergency oral surgery: "Your MOTHER gave away the last three squash blossoms."
Bitter 11-year-old in response: "Chill!"
The picture above shows the blossoms filled but not yet dipped in batter and fried. The picture below shows the blossoms just out of the oil. Not quite as gorgeous, but absolutely delectable. Please enjoy (and share) these while they're still warm!
p.s. You're going to have leftover hot oil and tempura-like batter. May I recommend slicing, dipping and frying any or all of the following? Dill pickles (preferred by 7-year-olds the world over), zucchini, eggplant and/or green tomatoes.
Fried Squash Blossoms with Goat Cheese, Basil & Scallions
4 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature
2 scallions, minced (white and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons heavy cream or half-and-half
8-10 fresh squash blossoms
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups sparkling water (you can also substitute beer for some or all of the water)
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine room-temperature goat cheese, scallions and basil and stir to combine. Mix in just enough cream or half-and-half to ensure that the cheese is creamy but can still be formed into balls. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
After years of practice, my preferred way of filling the blossoms with cheese is to gently open the leaves as much as possible without tearing them, form a "finger" of goat cheese approximately the same size as the center of the blossom, stuff, then twist the ends of the blossoms to seal in the goat cheese. Repeat.
Fill a large, shallow frying pan about halfway up the sides with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat until just rippling, about 350ºF.
Whisk together the flour and sparkling water (or beer) until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
Dip each filled blossom in the batter, shaking off any loose batter, then fry quickly, turning a few times until golden brown, between 1 and 2 minutes each. Don't fry more than 3 or 4 at a time.
Remove to a paper towel to drain, season with kosher salt and serve immediately.