I was both delighted and alarmed when I saw the plastic bag of 10 zucchini blossoms tucked in the corner my farmbox on Wednesday. These little darlings are probably my favorite (non-basic) food in the entire world, even including smoked salmon. But I had two lots of company coming, and there were not enough flowers to feed them to the guests. And they don't wear well, squash blossoms.
Normally, when I am lucky enough to get some, I make squash blossoms a bit of a personal event- stuffing them with ricotta and herbs, frying them in batter, or even doing both. I did not consider trying either while making an entirely separate birthday dinner. Because it does take the edge off the even the most wonderful food, when you are so tired you can hardly get it from plate to mouth.
But this is what I did, and I think it worked out very well. I tried something new with the blossoms, which I might never have done otherwise, being so enamoured of the original treatments. Plus, it made them last, stretched them out a bit- and that can't be bad, when you are dealing with treasures.*
I found this recipe for Spaghetti all'Aquilana, and made it right away. Despite the initial frying, it's pretty simple, and I had it for supper, after work. I was left with enough residual energy to do some party prep for the next day. The initial non-batter blossom frying does give the cook an opportunity to indulge in a stolen crispy salted blossom in the midst of preparations. The spaghetti made a really fine supper, and, importantly, leftovers. The leftovers will be turned into a large day after the party frittata, with the addition of eggs, fresh basil, and some very thinly sliced zucchini ribbons, sauteed briefly, to catch up with the cooked leftovers. All very nice.
And those squash blossoms are particularly good with the saffron in the spaghetti recipe. I've been thinking about making a risotto, also using some saffron, if I'm lucky enough to get more. Now that I've branched out. Or there's a Mario Batali recipe for tortelloni filled with mascarpone and zucchini blossoms. A person could make those using the wonton wrapper cheating method. I just may not be able to resist the batter fried, stuffed extravaganza ones, though.
*I do understand that not everyone feels as strongly as I do re squash blossoms. Intellectually I understand. Viscerally, it puzzles me. If it is possible to be viscerally puzzled.