Artfully, this recipe arranges the prolific golden flowers from the summer squash plants with scrumptious style by filling their petals with pancetta, lemon, and ricotta. When battered and fried in delicate cornmeal tempura, the results are an elegant and mouthwatering posy of deliciousness. Serve as a sunny appetizer or as a light main course accompanied by a tangy vinaigrette salad.
For the Pancetta-Cheese Filling:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces diced pancetta
2 tablespoons minced shallot
½ teaspoon minced garlic
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup whole-milk ricotta
1 farm-fresh egg
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh basil chiffonade
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
10 freshly picked summer squash blossoms with about a 2-inch stem
For the Cornmeal Batter:
½ cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour plus more for dredging
½ cup cornstarch
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup ice-cold water
For Frying the Squash Blossoms:
Canola oil for frying
To Prepare the Filling:
In a skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Toss in the pancetta, shallot, garlic, and red pepper. Sauté the ingredients for 3 to 4 minutes until the pancetta lightly browns. With a slotted spoon, remove the sautéed ingredients to a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan cheese. Season the mixture with salt, fresh basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
To Assemble the Squash Blossoms:
Lightly brush off any debris on the squash blossoms, but do not wash them prior to filling. Place the prepared filling in a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip. Starting in the throat of the first blossom, pipe generously while wrapping the petals of the blossom around the filling to seal it. Be sure that the filling is completely encased. Place stuffed squash blossoms on a tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To Prepare the Cornmeal Batter:
In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the ice-cold water, and whisk the batter together until smooth.
To Fry the Squash Blossoms:
In a deep frying pan, pour the canola oil to a depth of 1 inch. Preheat the oil to a constant 350°F on medium-high heat.
Coat each filled and chilled squash blooms lightly with flour. Holding the blossom by its stem, carefully dip the floured blossom in the prepared batter to coat on all sides. Place in the preheated oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1½ minutes on each side. Transfer the blossoms to a paper-towel-lined plate. If desired, sprinkle with Maldon salt. Serve while warm.
Recipe Created and Stylized by R. Shannon Mock
and Brontë E. Mock
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