Spring is here and each week our local farmer’s markets add more gorgeous fresh produce to their stalls. I arrived at the South Pasadena Thursday market wondering what delicious crop would be showcased this visit. In weeks past we enjoyed the fresh garden peas, adding their shoots to our lettuce wraps and opening each pod to release six to eight little green jewels of freshness which were to become the stars of our cold pea & leek soup.
I wandered among the stalls becoming part of the market dance. Each week as if choreographed we shoppers rhythmically dodge each other as we dip into our chosen stalls, eyes on the foot traffic, yet distracted by the sample trays. I greeted several of the farmers I have come to know and we chatted about what was growing, recipe ideas and of course the weather. There is a palpable spirit of community at most markets where consumers and farmers connect. I like looking into the eyes of the people who grow my food and supporting their efforts.
As I approached one of my favorite stalls I spotted the most beautiful squash blossoms nestled together in their basket looking like the very picture of spring.
I knew right away they had to be on this week’s menu. Today is the day we will enjoy stuffed squash blossoms. I did not deep fry these blossoms opting to bake them instead. They are not exactly like the deep fried version but I enjoy this lighter adaptation just as well.
6 squash blossoms
(cleaned blossoms with all the stamen completely removed)
For The Filling:
½ -¾ cup part skim ricotta
2 tbs.finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp tarragon
white pepper to taste
salt to taste (be careful because the cheese is salty too)..
healthy pinch of lemon zest
a tiny pinch of nutmeg (if you like nutmeg ~I do)
For The Batter
white vermouth (white wine or milk will work as well)
Batter should be thick enough to lightly coat (not too thick)
Add flour with equal amounts water and white vermouth
Till you achieve the desired consistency
Use your favorite batter recipe. (I experiment all the time)
carefully open each blossom (cleaned & stamen removed)
add cheese mixture
cover the cheese with the leaves and twist top to close
(Don’t over fill)
dip blossoms in batter:
Lay the batter-dipped blossoms on a lightly oiled sheet pan (I used grapeseed)
Grate a bit more Parmesan cheese on top of the blossoms
Bake at 400 till cheese is browned slightly and melted 15-20 minutes or so
keep your eye on it as ovens vary
Total under $4.00 for this side dish