Squash blossoms are really underrated in the US, usually relegated to Mexican food like squash blossom soup or in quesadillas. It's too bad. They taste really good and are a great way to keep your zucchini plants reproductive efficiency from taking over your life.
I discovered stuffed squash blossoms several years ago and look forward to the time of year when I can pick a handful of big blossoms, stuff them with chevré, and make one of my favorite appetizers. As is the norm for me, I rarely use a recipe so if you want to make them you'll need to rely on some instincts and frequent tasting rather than measurements…more after the jump.
Pick the biggest blossoms you can. Female blossoms seem to be best, the male blossoms (on long stalks that stick up from the vine) tend to be pretty skinny but they do work. Zuchinni blossoms are perfect. Some cucumbers are ok but a lot are too small. Pumpkins and winter squash work too, but I've run into a few varieties that are a bit too tough, spiky and generally less than appetizing. You want to catch them fresh, even a day after their peak the petals start to deteriorate and it's hard to unfurl them without tearing them to shreds.
Check inside each blossom for ants, earwigs or other big bugs. They probably aren't the protein you want in your meal. There are lots of tiny thrips inside the blossoms usually. Most of them will wash out with a quick rinse under water, but it's really not worth fighting to get every last one. Like it or not you are going to be eating some tiny insects, probably fewer than you eat in a handful of dried figs though.
Mix chevré with a bit of cream or milk to make it more runny. If it's too thick you'll tear the blossoms apart trying to get it inside. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter or so. I like to add tarragon and salt. This time I also added some basil to the cheese. I've been a bit obsessed with the toasted pumpkinseed oil from Trader Joes, the taste is just incredible, so I added some to the filling as well. It turned everything to a pretty green color. Mix it up and your ready to fill the blossoms.
The object when filling the blossoms is to keep from tearing the fleshy bottom section that will act as the bowl for the filling. Unfurl the blossom with one hand and spoon in a small amount of filling, forcing it down around the stamen/pistil to fill the whole blossom. Once it's filled give the petals a good twist and the filling is sealed in.
Now it's time to start the frying assembly line. I use panko bread crumbs because it makes the best flakey breading. You could probably use any breading you want. For this batch I mixed in some chopped fresh sage and salt and pepper to give the breading some flavor. I also used coconut oil for the first time to fry them. The coconut oil really gives it a great flavor.
Heat the oil on medium or so until it's frying hot. Make it deep enough that it covers half a blossom, maybe half and inch or a bit more. Use a thermometer if you aren't very familiar with doing this. The oil should start to shimmer but not smoke, and when you put the blossom in it should bubble pretty heavily. Dip each blossom in a bowl of beaten egg, then roll it in the panko mixture and drop it gently in the oil. When the bottom is golden brown turn it over and fry the other side. Pull the blossoms out with tongs and drain on a rack or paper towel.
Once they are cool enough to eat then don't hesitate, they aren't going to get any better than this!