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Squash Blossom Morning

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Tim Hess of Silent Oaks Farm

Tim Hess of Silent Oaks Farm
Photos by Deborah Henderson

When I asked about the blushing squash blossoms delicately displayed on his table at the Clayton Farmer’s Market in St. Louis, Missouri, Tim Hess of Silent Oaks Farm surprisingly started talking about bees. With his hands and one blossom, he showed how the flowers open up in the very early hours of the morning, making room for the bees to fly in and buzz around.

Hence, picking squash blossoms may require heroic measures to free trapped bees—without getting stung, of course. Intrigued by the story and awed by the warrior tactics that are called upon to bring each squash blossom to market, I had to have some. But then, I asked, what do I do with them?

Tim’s wife Marcille said her favorite way of cooking squash blossoms is to stuff them with soft cheese, mushrooms, or breadcrumbs; dip them in egg and then in seasoned flour; and fry them in a pan. This was the inspiration for my own Squash Blossom Morning.

Squash Blossoms and Basil

Squash Blossom Morning


(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 16 large squash blossoms
  • Organic canola or sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 bunch fresh basil for garnish

Coating

  • 1 ½ cups flour seasoned
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large farm eggs

Stuffing

    Frying Stuffed Squash Blossoms

  • 1 cup herbed soft goat cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon dried garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mushrooms, finely chopped (opt)
  • 1 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, minced
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Directions

  1. Delicately rinse squash blossoms, and set aside to dry.
  2. In bowl, sift together dry ingredients for coating. In separate bowl, whisk eggs.
  3. Prepare stuffing: Combine goat cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms, and minced basil or parsley.
  4. Stuffed and Fried Squash Blossoms

  5. Open blossoms and spoon ½–1 tablespoon of stuffing mixture into center of flowers. Pinch top of blossoms to close. (Note: Avoid overfilling.)
  6. Dip stuffed blossoms into whisked eggs, and coat in seasoned flour. Set aside.
  7. Heat oil in skillet. Carefully set blossoms into hot oil in a single layer. Cook until golden on all sides (about 3 minutes). Drain briefly on bakers rack over baking pan.
  8. To serve, garnish with fresh basil leaves.



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