Thursday, August 5, 2010

in season: fried squash blossoms stuffed with herb ricotta

I'm back!  Apologies for the mini-hiatus, sometimes life and work get a bit out-of-hand and my plate becomes a little too overrunith (not sure if that's word, but I'm using it).
First off, if you haven't caught it already, here's Monday's clip from The Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda, featuring some deliciously healthy summer recipes from The Cheater's Diet.  A BIG thanks to everyone at the show...KLG and Hoda, you two made it so easy and comfortable!
Secondly, with just a few weeks of August left, summer entertaining is in high gear. If you're looking for a gorgeous appetizer to start the party off and totally wow guests, squash blossoms are your answer. A summer delicacy, squash blossoms are the golden orange flowers of zucchini plants and come into season in late June/early July. They're high in beta-carotene as a nice nutritional bonus.  
The stuffing-frying process may appear to be a bit complicated, but this squash blossom recipe is amazingly easy. And yes, this nutritionist is actually frying something, gasp! Not to worry, the blossom batter is so light and barely absorbs any oil. The end result is a lovely appetizer that looks unbelievably gourmand and is the perfect start to a warm August evening. Enjoy!
Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Herbed Ricotta over Roasted Tomatoes
roasted tomatoes 
preheat oven to 325 degrees.
toss 1 pint cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt to taste and 2 to 3 cloves of smashed garlic.
place tomatoes on a cookie and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
place warm tomatoes in a large bowl and smash lightly with a spoon or masher to create a chunky puree.
ricotta filling 
1 cup fresh sheep's milk ricotta
1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 Tbsp basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon tarragon, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside.
squash blossom batter
1/2 cup flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
extra virgin olive oil, for frying
whisk all but milk together. slowly pour in milk while whisking.
stuff 8 blossoms with ricotta filling and twist the tips to create a closure. dip blossoms in batter to fully cover.
heat about 1-inch of extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat (temperature should reach about 375 degrees). fry blossoms in oil for about 1 to 2 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. place on plate covered with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil. serve blossoms on a large platter (or individual appetizer plates) over a bed of roasted tomatoes.

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