One of my favorite things about my husband is the unabashed excitement he expresses for the simple joys in life – a powerful thunderstorm, a contented cat, a good mail day, or cashew cheese-stuffed squash blossoms. As we walk to the farmers market, there’s one thing David is certainly going to say… “I wonder if they’ll have squash blossoms!” He’s been asking this question since the market opened for spring in May. Since May I’ve said the same thing, “They didn’t have them last year until August,” but his hopeful spirit knows no bounds. As we scan the tables, paying particular notice to the gray-haired gentleman who sold them to us last year, week after week there are no blossoms in sight. That is, until August hit, and then like an orange and yellow miracle, there they were packed in green boxes, their delicate blossoms curling into themselves. We purchased two containers, eager for what was to come.
The next day I soaked cashews and almonds and moved my computer to the kitchen. There I pulled up the recipe for fried cashew cheese-stuffed squash blossoms. The cashew cheese spun in the food processor, and I remembered why I’d purchased my piping bag (for stuffing blossoms). Then they were battered, stuffed, and fried until they were delicately crisp on the outside and warm and creamy on the inside. For a light companion to this heavy appetizer, I served lentil soup. With blissful smiles and contented bellies, we were left with one more container…
Now, if you’re only going to have squash blossoms once this year, make the fried cashew cheese-stuffed appetizers. They’re completely decadent and entirely worth it. But if you’re looking for something to do with your blossoms that’s on the lighter side, they are lovely simply sautéed in garlic in a medium-hot pan. The pan should be hot enough that the blooms wilt fast. (If necessary, press them into the heat of the pan with a spatula.) The blossoms, generally from zucchini plants, are mild and light, and they pick up the flavors of garlic wonderfully. Of course, they are prone to shrinkage, and so 6 to 8 blossoms works as a small side for one.
To make the blossoms stretch, consider adding them to a pizza after they’ve been sautéed in garlic. They go marvelously with caramelized onions, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, artichoke hearts, and a layer of pesto, marinara, or a combination of both. As per usual, I put them on a cornmeal crust, but any crust would do. (I think this pizza would be especially lovely with Kristy’s tofu chèvre.)
I have a couple more ideas up my sleeves before squash blossom season is over (and that’s hard to manage since I’m mostly wearing tank tops these days). More on that later…
Serves 1 as a small side or 2 on a small pizza
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6-8 squash blossoms, pistils and hard stems removed
In a medium-sized skillet, bring oil to a medium-high heat. Sauté garlic in oil a minute or two, until fragrant. Add squash blossoms to the pan and sauté until wilted. Serve immediately or use as a pizza topping.