Summer is in full swing and so are the squash plants in the garden. By now, most of us have an abundance of summer squash and all of our neighbors and friends have loads of squash as well.
What to do with all of the lovely summer squash fruit?
One way to utilize squash is to harvest and eat the flowers! Squash blossoms, generally used from the zucchini plant, are a delicacy that has been cooked for centuries by many different cultures.
The Native American indigenous peoples used the male flowers from squash plants. Gathered in the morning before the flowers opened, the delicate flowers were eaten fresh, fried and often dried to store for winter.
In Italy, squash blossoms are stuffed with ricotta cheese and lightly fried to a golden brown and served with a sprinkling of sea salt.
In the south of France, squash blossoms are stuffed with meats, cheeses, and herbs, lightly fried and served with a delicate cream sauce.
In Mexico, squash blossoms, Flores de Calabaza, are stuffed with goat cheese, garlic, epzote or oregano, lightly fried and served with salsa verde. The lightly fried squash blossoms can also be added to your favorite quesadilla recipe.
As you can see, most cultures that grow squash have squash blossom recipes!
Squash blossoms are light and delicate. They contain significant amounts of vitamin C, along with A, E and K. The blossoms also provide potassium, magnesium, zinc and trace amounts of calcium. Squash blossoms are not considered big powerhouses of nutrition, but they are a wonderful delicacy to be enjoyed.
The flavor, depending on how they are prepared, is somewhat nutty and sweet with a faint flavor of the squash that they are attached to.
Harvest the squash blossoms early in the morning and remove the stamen part of the flower. Wash and dry and follow the recipe below. Invite friends and neighbors over to enjoy this very summery delicacy.
Oven Roasted Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 ribs of rainbow Swiss chard (stems removed) leaves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
- Salt & pepper
- 3 oz goat cheese (chèvre), flavored with herbs if so desired
- 8 squash blossoms (can be zucchini, crookneck, patty pan or winter squash blossoms)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat oil in pan and cook garlic on low heat until fragrant and transparent. Add Swiss chard and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add basil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Mix the chard mixture with softened goat cheese. Add the parsley, salt & pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Open the squash blossoms and fill them about 3/4 full with the mixture; pinch the ends closed. You may need to wet the ends carefully to keep them closed (or use toothpicks).
Place the filled blossoms on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, and bake about 10 minutes.
Remove immediately, let cool, and serve with fresh herbed sourdough bread.