The Golden Prize: Squash Blossoms

I have been traveling for the better part of two weeks. Luckily I had some time to come home, switch out suitcases and maintain the garden in between. This morning, after returning from my most recent excursion, I went out to harvest from the garden, filling my basket with tomatoes, eggplants and the silent wonder of my garden, the zucchini (that grows to amazing proportions in just a few days) along with the blossoms.

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This year, I planted a variety of summer squash plants and only one survived, which is very odd. I tend to over do it in the spring, planting about five or six plants. There is a method to my madness, as much as I love the beautiful green zucchini, I am really after the delicate golden blossoms.

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I go out in the early hours of the morning to harvest them at their peak. If I wait, even a few hours, they wilt and close down. I clean them, removing the stamen, make sure there are no bugs residing in the crevices and cover in anticipation of lunch or dinner.

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Squash Blossoms stuffed with Goat Cheese is one of my all time favorite summer dishes. Serve it with a light tomato sauce, it is heavenly.

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This method differs from my friends on the Amalfi Coast. After stuffing it they dip it into batter, fry it and serve it plain. In Rome, an anchovy is added to the stuffing, intensifying the flavor. I’m also intrigued by Francis Mays method of stuffing it with a potato filling that I read in the outstanding Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy, but I’ve not been able stray from my beloved cheese mixture.

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I had never thought of having them on Pizza until I tried the fabulous Nancy Silverton’s Squash Blossom Pizza at Pizzaria Mozza. This inspired my imagination with infinite possibilities so I created Tostadas using the blossoms and they are stunning!

Squash Blossom Pizzas

In Italy and Mexico the blossoms are readily available in the stores and open air markets. Here I have to grow my own. Granted, my harvest is a bit light this year, only having one plant but I am still grateful to have the golden prize and the amazing zucchini harvest that goes along with it.

 

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6 Comments

  • Denise says:

    My little Italian grandmother (we called her “Nata” which was short for “Renata”) used to pick them from her garden, dip them in a light batter, and fry them (just like you mentioned they do it on the Amalfi Coast). They were so amazing! All of your ideas look delicious, Monica!

  • Janis says:

    Wow, Monica. You really bring the preparation and eating of squash blossoms to the next level. The photos looks both gorgeous and appetizing, making me want to try this at home.

  • Susan says:

    I’ve never eaten the blossoms, but I love squash and zucchini so I’m sure I’d love these blossoms just as much. Thanks for making me aware of this new (to me) vegetable.

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