Fried and stuffed squash blossoms with yogurt

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 31.03.2017 23:18

People living in the Aegean region are famous for being able to eat almost every plant that grows from the soil. There is a plentiful array of plants and flowers to choose from in the region. Squash blossoms are the edible flowers of the Cucurbita species — the species that produces zucchini, spaghetti squash and many other types of squash. Squash blossoms have a variety of culinary uses. They may be stuffed, battered and fried or made into soup. In Anatolia and Greece, the locals usually stuff and cook these flowers — a dish known as "kabak çiçeği dolması" in Turkish. In other parts of the world, these flowers are frequently made into fritters, especially in specific regions of Italy and Spain. In Fethiye, however, locals prefer to serve squash blossoms fried or stuffed as an appetizer. For a four person serving, 15 to 20 flowers should be enough.

To make fried squash blossoms, first wash the flowers but avoid damaging the leaves. Clean the yellow seeds inside the flowers and get rid of the spiky green pedicels. Then, mix curd and goat cheese with a little bit of black pepper and dill. Put this mixture in the flowers folding the tips of the petals over to avoid any overflow and dip the flowers into a mixture of one beaten egg, a small cup of milk and three spoons of flour. Fry the flowers in a pan of hot sunflower oil until they are golden brown. When they are the perfect color, take them out of the pan and place them on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Once you are done, serve the fried squash blossoms with yogurt.

For those who want to eat stuffed squash blossoms, heat the oil in a wide skillet over a medium flame. When the oil shimmers, add a shallot. Cook for about 10 minutes until translucent and tender. Add the zucchini and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about five minutes. Add the corn and cook for one minute more. In a medium bowl, stir together the cooked vegetables with goat cheese and basil. Set aside. To prepare the flowers fill a large saucepan with salted boiling water. Separately, prepare a medium bowl full of ice water. Drop the blossoms into the boiling water a few at a time and cook for 10 seconds. Lift them out and drop them immediately into the ice water.

Carefully open up one of the blossoms and place 1 tablespoon of the filling inside, then close the petals around it and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining blossoms. Brush the blossoms with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. You can either bake the blossoms in the oven or cook them in a saucepan. If you want to cook them in the oven, five to seven minutes of baking would suffice. On the other hand, if you cook the blossoms in a saucepan, you have to add water to the pan and cook the blossoms until the water is absorbed, around 20 minutes.

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