Tempura Battered Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Mozzarella and BasilTempura Batter1/4 cup rice flour2 cups all-purpose flour1 TBS baking powder1/2 cup cornstarch1 TBS salt1 tsp cayenne3 cups soda waterSquash Blossomssquash blossoms (cleaned with stamen removed)mozzarellabasilvegetable oil for fryingTo make the batter, sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk in the soda water, a little at a time, until the right consistency is achieved. The batter should coat the back of a spoon, but some excess batter should run off the spoon. Allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before use.Once batter has rested, heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees. I placed about a half inch in a deep pot and heated until a small drop of batter browned nicely. In the meantime, stuff squash blossoms with one piece of mozzarella and one leaf of basil. Twist ends of blossom to seal and dip into batter. Fry in oil, turning once or twice, until golden brown on all sides.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Tempura Battered Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Mozzarella and Basil
Squash blossoms have intrigued me this season. For the first time ever hearing about them, I've seen them at all of the farmer's markets, Oyamel is having their 2nd annual squash blossom festival, and Michelle Obama is eating them (at Oyamel). Plus, they are beautiful, and just scream summer. If someone hadn't thought to eat them, I'd put them in a vase.
Once I got up the nerve to buy a container of the delicate yellow and orange blossoms at the Dupont Farmer's Market (I always try to buy one thing I've never cooked before at the markets each week), I set out on a researching expedition. Squash blossoms don't have a long shelf life, so I had to work fast. I ultimately decided on stuffing and deep frying, as that seemed to be the most popular preparation, but I soon learned that it was possible to use the blossoms in sauces, soups and even quesadillas.
I found a Wolfgang Puck recipe for tempura battered squash blossoms, but I decided to incorporate my own stuffing - some fresh mozzarella and basil (from my Aerogarden, of course). A little East meets West. Now I was faced not only with the prospect of cooking with squash blossoms but embarking on my first deep frying experience. Without a deep fry thermometer. True culinary challenges, indeed. I'm proud to say that I didn't burn the house down and that I thoroughly enjoyed the final product.
Above is the best looking tempura fried squash blossom from my batch. A perfectly light and crispy coating, with a bit of zing from the cayenne. Oozing mozzarella and fragrant basil complete the package. Consider it a grown-up mozzarella stick. The squash blossoms don't have much taste on their own but act as a light and unobtrusive vessel for the other flavors.