Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Squash Blossom Trio

So as I exclaimed in yesterday's post, I finally got around to cooking with/tasting squash blossoms for the first time!  I had SO MANY of them and the flowers wilt within a day, so it was a squash blossom cooking marathon on Sunday and last night.  Squash blossoms, also referred to as zucchini blossoms, are a traditional ingredient in Mexican cuisine and they don't really taste sweet or floral like you might expect, they actually taste like a delicate version of the zucchini that grow on the same plant.  Apparently the most famous dish they're used in are quesadillas. In fact, the hispanic gentleman at the produce booth where I bought my blossoms asked me if I was buying them because I had recently vacationed in Mexico and had them in quesadillas there (I wish!).  I didn't take a picture of the quesadillas, because they didn't look like much, but they tasted like something you'd order at a (good) restaurant!  I used a recipe from the Homesick Texan blog I posted about last week.
My second dish was a squash blossom soup, and I think it may have been my favorite.  It shared a vaguely similar profile to the quesadillas, both used the blossoms, roasted hatch chilis that I had purchased last week at Central Market, and dairy.  However, if I had to choose between the two, the soup would win HANDS DOWN!  It had a creamy, spicy flavor that didn't overwhelm the delicate squash blossoms and it was filled with fresh pieces of zucchini and corn kernels that I had cut straight from the cob - incredible!  Between the soup and the quesadillas, I had way more food than I could handle, so I brought it over to B and J's house for Sunday night dinner and the first of our Dexter Season 6 viewing sessions (we're hoping to fit all 12 episodes in before season 7 starts at the end of September!)  B and J both loved the quesadillas and soup, though I think the soup was the favorite there too.  B suggested I just use ALL of my half pound bag of squash blossoms to make a triple batch of it next time...
I had saved a few of the bigger, prettier blossoms overnight and so yesterday after I got home from the gym I whipped up this delicious dish - meyer lemon pasta with herb ricotta stuffed squash blossoms.  It sounds complicated, but all of the steps were actually super easy and with some multi-tasking (let ricotta drain while I chop herbs and veggies, boil the pasta while I stuff blossoms, finish the pasta while the blossoms cook, etc), it only took about 25 minutes to whip up the whole dish.  My final dish was obviously slightly modified from the recipes I linked to - I didn't use gluten free pasta and the stuffed blossoms topped spaghetti, not toasted french bread - but they totally worked together and my mouth was in heaven.

Moral of this lengthy food story?  You really must try squash blossoms!  In addition to the recipes I tried, here are a couple of others I found and contemplated: zucchini blossom fitters, squash blossom pizza, squash blossom frittata fried squash blossoms, and there are even some desert recipes like sweet ricotta stuffed squash blossoms and zucchini blossom cannoli!       However, for your first dish, I'd highly recommend the soup!

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