Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and chèvre
These pretty stuffed blossoms make the perfect dinner party appetizer!
Prep Time: 30minutes
Cook Time: 25minutes
Servings: 4to 6 people as a first course.
For the blossoms:
1tablespoonolive oil, plus more for brushing the blossoms
1large fresh or cured shallot or spring onion, diced
2medium zucchini, diced
kernels from 1 ear of corn
4ouncesfresh chèvre (goat cheese)
3tablespoonschopped fresh basil
16 - 18squash blossoms, free of bugs, stamen snapped off of males (see headnote)
1tablespoonolive oil, plus more for the arugula
1/2pintcherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper
Make the filling:
Heat the oil in a wide skilletover a medium flame. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot. Cook for about 10 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add the zucchini and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute longer. In a medium bowl, stir together the cooked veggies with the chèvre and basil. Set aside.
Prepare the blossoms:
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a medium bowl full of ice water. Drop the blossoms into the boiling water a few at a time and cook for 10 seconds. Lift them out and drop them into the ice water.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
With the blossoms still submerged (the petals are easier to separate under water), carefully open up one of the blossoms and drape the petals over your hand, then lift it out of the water, tilting it to drain. Place 1 tablespoon of the chèvre mixture inside the blossom, then close the petals around it, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining blossoms. (The blossoms can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours at this point.)
Brush the blossoms with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until heated through.
Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, tossing, until warm and beginning to release some of their juices, a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the arugula in a medium bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
When the blossoms are hot, divide the arugula among 4 - 6 plates. Top with 3-4 blossoms, then spoon the warm cherry tomatoes over the blossoms. Serve with a knife and fork.
Jerry Traunfeld goes into extensive detail on the harvesting and preparing of squash blossoms in his book. Suffice it to say that these blossoms are somewhat ephemeral and should be harvested in the morning and prepared soon thereafter, within the same day. Check the insides for bugs before blanching the flowers. Male blossoms grow directly from the stalks and have a stamen inside the flower, which should be removed before stuffing the blossoms. Females bear fruit; if your blossoms have tiny zucchini attached to them, you can leave them on and have a baby squash with your blossom. Be patient when working the flowers, and leave time to pry open and stuff them gently. (That sounded kinda dirty, didn't it?) Figure 3-4 blossoms per person for an appetizer.Nutritional values are based on one of four servings.Variation:Spaghetti with Chèvre, Zucchini, Corn and Squash Blossoms Makes 4 entree-sized servings. Prepare the blossoms, chèvre mixture and tomatoes as above (you can probably use the blossoms un-blanched). Sliver the blossoms. Toss the chèvre mixture with 12 ounces of cooked spaghetti and a little extra olive oil, then gently toss in the tomatoes and squash blossoms. Plate and top with a good grating of parmesan and black pepper.