Yesterday, while The Bride was having an excess piece of bone excised from her foot, I whiled away the time by visiting the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Lured by the siren song of fresh aubergines and oh-so-ripe peaches, I stumbled upon a couple of stalls that featured squash blossoms, a short-season summer treat. Normally, I stuff them with goat cheese, batter them, and pan fry them; I was keen to try the Cup4Cup gluten-free flour on my longtime fave. As it turned out, The Bride offered up an equally enticing competitive idea. Guided by Mae West’s belief that “between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before,” I opted for the new recipe (not that either recipe is evil).
Makes 10 squash blossoms (plus about 3/4 cup vinaigrette)
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup red wine vinegar (I used white Champagne vinegar, which worked fine)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms
½ cup ricotta
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese (I went with about 3 tbsp., which is more to my taste)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (I substituted sour cream and a splash of water; maybe a teaspoon)
10 large squash blossoms, stems trimmed and stamens removed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
Basil leaves, for garnish
1. Make the vinaigrette: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tomatoes with the vinegar and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Season to taste with salt and set aside. [TOTT note: I just put it all in together and pulsed until I got it where I wanted it to be; because I was using a stick blender and bowl attachment, the “drizzling in” bit wasn’t really an option. Worked superbly, and it meant I didn’t have to assemble and clean the big honking Cuisinart.]
2. Make the squash blossoms: Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with the Parmesan and cream until just combined. Season the mixture to taste with salt. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or large Ziplock bag with a small piece of the corner cut off.
3. Working with one squash blossom at a time, fill the interior cavity of the blossoms with the ricotta mixture until three-quarters full. Twist the petals gently to seal. (Depending on the size of your blossoms, you may have leftover filling.) Arrange the filled blossoms on a small baking sheet, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the squash blossoms for 2 minutes [TOTT Note: Because I was using the female blossoms, I left them in for about 5-6 minutes.] or until just warmed through.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium heat, simmer the reserved vinaigrette until warmed through, about 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. [TOTT Note: I thought this was too much of a pain in the ass, so I just transferred the vinaigrette to a microwave-safe bowl and zapped it for 30 seconds on high.]
5. Cover the bottom of a large platter [or your serving plate] with a thin layer of the vinaigrette. (Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for another use.) Arrange the squash blossoms on top of the vinaigrette and garnish with the basil leaves. Serve immediately.