Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Squash Flowers

This one is for whom I promised a post about six weeks ago and have not got around to it.


"Hold on, so you actually use the flower as a pouch to put something into, then you fry and eat it?" - Said by anonymous at the Meeks household

I'll admit it, stuffing a flower sounds weird. It also sounds expensive. Chefs get away with murder charging for these things. Its so crazy because of the ease of preparation and the insane abundance of the ingredients.

The idea of this dish is really simple. Find things that are not to overpowering in flavor and taste good together and let them have a party inside of a unique and edible container provided by nature.

Simple as that.

Here is a photo journey of just one of many preparations we have done this summer.

Like most things at our house we cook with what we have on hand. Zucchini, onions and garlic are in crazy abundance right now. We decided on this day to make them a part of our homage to the squash flower.

I did a quick saute with the three ingredients in some good olive oil. Quick as in two minutes over medium high heat. I was looking for a bit of crunch to still be present, but mellower flavors. This got combined with some Romano cheese. I also had Thai basil flower buds on hand and decided to use them.

Yes, I know, this is absurd, but it is the truth. Don't go looking for thai basil flower buds. You probably can find them and they probably cost a ton. They do have an insane flavor quite different from their leafs, but they are not worth looking around the world for them. I'd never think to use them except I had them on the counter, ready to go into the compost and thought, "Hey, that would be weird."

When you have the ingredients prepped it is time to stuff. This is the hardest part...except maybe restraining yourself from the urge to eat these things ten seconds out of the pan, knowing that permanent facial scaring is inevitably in your near future. You will be helped greatly if you follow this one piece of advice:

Pick blossoms early in the day when they are still open.

Once they close you will half lose your salvation, drown your cat (not a bad idea by the way), or give up cooking all together and live at a Waffle House. This is because these things are flowers...they don't take much in the way of abuse.

Don't try and set any records for "most junk crammed inside a delicate vegetable product." This will lead to frustration...and Waffle House. Instead just add a bit. Yes, that is ambiguous. All men are created equal, all squash flowers are not. Big ones get more, little ones get less.

Now that is cooking wisdom.

It is time to set up your mise en place. Don't neglect this....ever. Especially when frying stuff. Get everything in its place. For all of those of you who complain about the size of your kitchen note the counter space I have to work with.

People in pop up campers laugh at me.

In the left bowl is a beaten egg. Right bowl has breadcrumbs. A bit of canola oil is in the pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot dip, roll, and place your stuffed blossoms in the pan.

This is what you are looking for. Good browning, but no burning (pan blackened as my brother puts it). Notice that there is not much oil in the pan. Speaking of the pan...have I mentioned that my wife is the best? This thing is absolutely amazing.

Here is how we plated and ate these ones. Not the best looking dish as both elements are zucchini based and browned, but man was it heaven to eat. The entire thing is edible, don't be scared.


  1. very nice. its funny because just last night my mom said you could eat them. Never heard that before. and here it is again!!

    By the way, Daniel would agree heartily about the cat. He offers to throw my parents' cats in the river every time we're there. :)