Many say that seasonal, fresh food is priceless. Although this is true in concept, the fact of the matter that it is indeed… not priceless. It is invaluable to your health yes, but eating sustainable and local food is quite expensive. It can and does get pricey very quickly, not to mention it can be time consuming. I try to get the best of the best of what I can, when I can. This find was based entirely upon luck which for me is something of a miracle.
I have seen squash blossoms here and there, but mostly I recall seeing them on some of my favorite television shows way back yonder when I had cable. Hidden there on my bucket list of things I would love to try someday, I assumed that I would never come across these little beauties. Living rural does have it’s benefits but quite often I feel cast away, just me and my day dreams, my list of foods I would love to get my hands on. Let’s face it, even if I could find them around here… they would be expensive and a half.
I have infamously bad luck but stumbling through a pumpkin patch I came across these ethereal little flowers. My boys were off trying to find the biggest pumpkins they could, I was picking our little gourds and looking for the funniest looking pumpkins, and then the epiphany!!! Squash Blossoms! Off I went like a crazy person, pick-pick-picking like a crazy lady. I guess sometimes the best things in life really are free?
I ran around my field of dreams, (and pumpkins) I was high on life. This garden of gold really had me excited to try something new. These delicate golden flowers are available for only a short time, and they are highly perishable. The most popular recipe I came across was across the board- Fried. Of course, the culinary cheap trick to anything good. Just fry it! (or add bacon) I typically avoid fried foods at home but from what I had found at the time it seemed like the only reasonable and not “blah” looking option. In recent months I have come up with a “paleo” grain-free dredge that I use. This squash blossom delight is stuffed with herb & garlic goat cheese, and a smidge of gouda. If you are lucky enough to come across these delicate beauties be sure not to limit your idea’s for using them.
Although they are truly spectacular served this way, be mindful of their subtle flavor and gentle nature. Stuffing them with a creamy mild cheeses works very well. They have a subtle floral squash flavor without the strong earthiness we know pumpkins or squashes to have. These treats remind me of stuffed jalapenos or even fried okra. They went well with another in-season-now gem, husk cherries. These really subtle and seasonal flavors just happen to party together perfectly. Serve as an appetizer with dipping sauce, or serve atop a lightly dressed bed of greens for a wondrous entree du jour!
Chevre and Gouda Stuffed Pumpkin Blossoms With Husk Cherry Chutney
This grain free “flour” dredge is gluten free and perfect for pan frying pork chops, okra and many other things. It is very straight forward. I keep this tucked away in my freezer, this helps prevent over browning and I can pull it out for last minute uses. (just as I used to use leftover bread crumbs) For just enough try mixing 3/4 of a cups worth. Make more with the two thirds arrowroot ratio as needed. One egg was plenty for eight blossoms, this recipe will make 8-10 blossoms. Try to find medium sized blossoms for best results. The large, open flowers were more difficult to handle.
- Grain Free Dredge:
- 2 parts arrowroot or potato starch (1/2 cup)
- 1 part almond flour (1/4 cup)
- 3/4 teaspoon creole seasoning or a pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne
- Egg Wash:
- 1 Egg with 1 tablespoon of water
- 8 to 10 teaspoons herb and garlic chevre
- 8 to 10 pinches of gouda
- 4 to 6 tablespoons of oil For Frying, I used Almond Oil
Before you start- Gently rinse and clean each blossom. Be gentle, and be sure not to drown them. They will absorb water like a sponge. Mine were particularly blessed with bugs and grime. Check the pollen tube area for bugs, I found a good deal of stow aways within the flowers.
1. In a bowl combine dredge. In a separate bowl combine a room temperature egg with one tablespoon of water. Whip it until smooth.
-Heat oil in a medium sized skillet. Medium to Medium high heat.-
2. Gently open and fill half of your flowers. Fill each flower with about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese, and half of a teaspoon of gouda.
3. Once your pan is hot (a sprinkle of dredge or a small teensy drop of water will sizzle up if dropped into the oil) Fry your blossoms on all sides. This will take approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place onto a clean dish towel or kitchen paper.
4. Repeat this process with the remaining 4 or 5 flowers. Be sure to remove your pan from the heat directly after your first batch is finished. You do not want the pan to get too hot, and you don’t want the excess dredge to burn up and leave a burnt residue.
Husk Cherry Chutney: I threw together A few tablespoons of husk cherry preserves mixed with a pinch of garlic powder, grated ginger and vinegar. Add green onions, chili’s etc. I was in a bit of a rush to use my blossoms before they wilted away. I did not put much method to my madness. (yummy, yummy madness)
Notes: Facebook questions led me off to think about alternative dairy free fillings. My two cents: Meat fillings might be too heavy in taste as well as texture, someone on Instagram mentioned a “chicken mousse” filling. For a dairy free option I fully recommend pursuing a shrimp or meat mousse option. Whatever you use, moderation matters. I honestly believe they would be great without filling at all… possibly even better!
For a lighter grain free and dairy free option try this recipe for Shrimp Mousse Stuffed Squash blossoms. Substitute rice flour with potato starch and/or arrowroot. Substitute the cream for coconut milk! If I could strike gold just one more time I would absolutely try these tempura fritters without any filling and a Thai style dipping sauce.