Fried Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

For years I have wanted to both make and eat fried cheese-stuffed squash blossoms. Every time I see them at the farmer's market or being prepared on a cooking show I am amazed at their beauty. One weekend while getting some salad mix from Happy Boy Farms at the Farmers’ Market in Palo Alto, the yellow blossoms called to me. They were piled high on a table just asking to be taken home. After a quick chat with my husband to get his agreement to try them, I eagerly placed them by the cashier along with our salad mix.

It was convenient that my husband decided he wanted a deep fryer for Father’s Day and we had already planned to purchase one that afternoon. So though the recipe gives directions on how to fry in a saucepan, we used the deep fryer which was very easy to do.

For years I have wanted to both make and eat fried cheese-stuffed squash blossoms. Every time I see them at the farmer's market or being prepared on a cooking show I am amazed at their beauty. One weekend while getting some salad mix from Happy Boy Farms at the Farmers’ Market in Palo Alto, the yellow blossoms called to me. They were piled high on a table just asking to be taken home. After a quick chat with my husband to get his agreement to try them, I eagerly placed them by the cashier along with our salad mix.

It was convenient that my husband decided he wanted a deep fryer for Father’s Day and we had already planned to purchase one that afternoon. So though the recipe gives directions on how to fry in a saucepan, we used the deep fryer which was very easy to do.

Jeromy looked up some recipes on his iPhone while we were at Whole Foods after the market so we could get everything we needed, which turned out to only be cheese. Love recipes that mostly use things you already have in the house! It seemed any soft cheese would work and we could either season it ourselves or buy something herbed already. We picked up a container of herbed soft cheese to use.

Later that afternoon we looked up a few recipes and landed on Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe on FoodNetwork.com. We liked that it was straight forward and didn’t require any egg. It, however, did not give any instruction on if and how to clean or prepare the blossoms. I did some research online and figured out what to do – which I included in the directions below.

They seemed like a lot of work, specifically, preparing the delicate blossoms. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and I wondered if it would be worth it, even though it got easier as I went. But all it took was one bite and I was sold – completely worth it. They were crunchy and yet still so delicate at the same time. The taste is unlike anything else I’ve had. They are really something special. We served ours with warm marinara sauce. Though I suggest your first bite be unadorned so you can really taste the subtle flavor of the blossom. 

You should be able to get blossoms at your local famers’ market throughout the summer and possibly at some grocery stores. I have seen them at Whole Foods in the past. You’ll want to buy them the day you plan to cook them, they wilt quickly.

Enjoy! We most definitely did.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons soft, seasoned cheese, at room temperature *see note
  • 8 squash blossoms
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

*Note: For the cheese, we used an herbed soft cheese we found at the grocery store and thinned it with a little milk so it was easier to work with. Giada, who’s recipe much of this was based off, suggests:

  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream, basil, and green onion. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water and salt until smooth. Set aside.

Trim the stems and delicately wash the blossoms, remove the stamen and the little points at the base of the flower. After wrecking a couple flowers I discovered the best way to remove the stamen is to use one finger to gently detach it from the flower and then invert the blossom so the stamen falls out. It takes a soft hand and patience but the results are worth it. Gently pat dry. You want to keep the petals and flower body intact so they keep the cheese filling inside.

Now it is time to fill the blossoms. The easiest way to get the cheese into the blossom is to pipe it in. Fill a piping bag with the room cheese mixture. (A ziplock bag works just as well, put mixture in, squeeze it toward one corner and then make a small cut at the corner of the bag to squeeze the cheese through.) Pipe 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of filing into each blossom. Gently twist the petals to close the blossom.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 1 minute.) Dip the stuffed zucchini blossoms in the batter and allow any excess batter to drip off. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown.

Jeromy placed the fryer basket on a baking sheet so he could easily lay the dipped blossoms in it before placing them all in the fryer at the same time.  A bit easier than dropping them into the fryer one by one.

Allow the cooked blossoms to drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately with your favorite marinara sauce or vinaigrette.