I’ve read about fried squash blossoms for years and years, but never had them. The markets where I’ve lived generally don’t have them for sale, and I’ve never had the space to grow squash. But when C and I were wandering around the St. Paul market on Sunday, there was one huge bunch of blossoms resting over to the side of a vendor’s table, where it had been studiously ignored by the Minnesotans all morning*. We were prepared to shell out a bundle for it, but the farmer only wanted $2. We snatched them up, paid, and ran away fast before he could change his mind.
So last night I made fried squash blossoms, which turned out not to be as difficult as I’d always thought it might be. I mean, sure, you have to open the blossoms up and check for bugs, but that wasn’ so traumatic. I mixed some ricotta with fresh-milled black and white pepper, a wee bit of crushed red pepper, some garlic, and some olive oil. Next, I dumped all that into a ziploc, cut off a corner, and piped it into the blossoms. Then I twisted them shut, rolled them in egg, and then rolled them in flour that I mixed with a little salt and more pepper. Finally, I fried two batches in a couple of inches of smoking-hot oil.
When I bit into them, I did not see God, as promised in various written accounts of stuffed squash blossoms. But as I worked my way through the plate (Mr. Husband was having nothing to do with this), they grew on me. They’re very fresh tasting considering the fact that they’re fried, and very mild — perfectly balanced with a mild cheese like ricotta that’s been spiced up a bit. Crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside. I’m not dashing back out the door in search of more blossoms, but I might make them again sometime, particularly if I was having guests.
*One other table had local tomatillos, which you also don’t see so often up here. The woman beside me was poking at them and asking the farmer, “But what are they?” Tomatillos. “But what do you do with them?” Make salsa. “What? How?” I loves the Minnesotans, but it seems to take quite a lot for them to step out of their usual habits when it comes to food.
This seems like a good a time as any for an inventory meme like the VGT Omnivore‚Äôs Hundred, found via Momo. Looks like I’ve been in my own food rut, since a lot of the missing items can be easily remedied in a couple of trips around town.
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you‚Äôve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
1. Venison. My friend Chad used to go hunting every year, and he’d bring me venison sausage biscuits when we worked the night shift.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile. (Does alligator count? I’ve eaten alligator boudin and alligator pizza.)
6. Black pudding. In Scotland.
7. Cheese fondue, which Mr. Husband makes fairly frequently.
9. Borscht, which is a specialty of C’s family.
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari, for forever.
12. Pho, which always reminds me of Emily and my old student Vong.
13. PB&J sandwich, which Compatriot G recently turned me back on to.
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart. In Chicago, no less.
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. An old girlfriend of mine was partial to peach wine. Always a mark of quality.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes, from the time I was knee-high to a gnat.
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans. Can you be Southern without making rice and beans?
25. Brawn, or head cheese, which Mom reminds me that I ate as a child at my grandmother’s house.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper. I’m a wuss, and would probably only do this if it was the last thing left to close out this list.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters. With the peach-wine-drinking girlfriend, who also had very good taste.
29. Baklava. This is a Mr. Husband thing.
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. In Monterey. It is never good there.
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut. Always in the fridge.
35. Root beer float. (Momo, who doesn’t like root beer? I forgive you, though.)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar. How have I not done this?
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O. I’m sure the current job market compadres will take care of this one.
39. Gumbo. (The last batch I made of this, on Oscar night, was just awful.)
40. Oxtail. At a Basque restaurant in Bakersfield.
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat‚Äôs milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth ¬£60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel. Frequently in the form of unagi.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut. Not as fabulous as promised.
50. Sea urchin (but not for lack of trying in Seattle)
51. Prickly pear (found these in a local supermarket last week, and I’m so going back)
53. Abalone, which I totally meant to eat back in June and never did.
55. McDonald‚Äôs Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
63. Kaolin. If you’ve had Kaopectate, haven’t you had kaolin?
65. Durian. C. reminds me in the comments that I have indeed had durian sticky rice with her.
66. Frogs‚Äô legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake. Funnel cake in Eureka Springs, beignets at Cafe du Monde.
68. Haggis. In Edinburgh.
69. Fried plantain. Very easy to make.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail. Actually, I love escargot. Must get C back over to get some.
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict, which will always remind me of C, who whips them up all the time.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
88. Flowers. See above!
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam. At the Spam Museum.
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish, most Fridays I lived in Arkansas.
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake. Rattlesnake.