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Crab-and Ricotta-Stuffed Tempura Squash Blossoms

Posted by: Amanda Sullivan

TEMPURA SQUASH BLOSSOMS STUFFED WITH SNOW CRAB, RICOTTA AND SWEET CORN
Served with Roasted Poblano-Gouda Grits over Buerre Blanc Sauce

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The squash blossom is one of summer’s delicate beauties that signals the approach of yellow squash. Just as summer squash are a southern fried favorite, their delicate blossoms lend themselves to this preparation as well. Done properly, the result is a colorful pod of deliciousness that will make you and your guests eagerly await their return to your table each year.

This year In the mountains of North Carolina, the end of July is when these sunny little blooms started peeping out from beneath the shady canopy of the plant’s broad leaves. And Chef David Young wasted no time in preparing one of his favorite recipes, Stuffed Tempura Squash Blossoms.  David says, “Anything that’s available for such a short amount of time has an extra mystique that makes it more compelling and interesting to make.”

 

David’s philosophy on preparing stuffed and fried squash blossoms is, “When I’m stuffing and frying I think of Chili Relleno. So I usually go with spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and flavor enhancements like Espelette powder added to the ricotta.” Once you’ve you made the recipe, it becomes easy to repeat, and you can add your own favorite flavors. Also, if you just want to experiment with the stuffed tempura blossoms before delving into Buerre Blanc sauce and poblano-gouda grits, then you can work up the rest of the recipe.

Since stuffed squash can be rich, David suggests serving them as a side dish at brunch or as an appetizer.

Steps Involved in the Recipe

  1. You can make the stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate. It is even a good idea to stuff the blossoms ahead of time (but not fry) and gently store in the refrigerator on wax paper to set. This will make for a more time-efficient preparation process and also help the blossoms stay together while cooking.
  2. Prepare the Buerre Blanc Sauce. You can then sit the pan or bowl of the finished sauce into a pot of warm water to keep it warm and viscous while you prepare the blossoms.
  3. Prepare the poblano Gouda grits. If you do this in advance, you can re-heat when ready to use, adding a bit of cream for smoothness.
  4. Fry the blossoms only after everything else is prepared and you have arranged the warm grits on the plate so that you can deposit the fried blossoms directly onto the grits and then spoon the Buerre Blanc Sauce around the grits.

INGREDIENTS

For the Poblano-Gouda Grits


Two cups of cooked grits

Two roasted poblono peppers, cleaned of seeds and veins and then diced

Half cup of smoked gouda cheese, shredded

 

For the Buerre Blanc Sauce

2 shallots, sliced

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves 2 cups white wine

Zest of 2 lemons Juice of 2 lemons

¼ cup heavy cream

1 lb. butter

 

For the Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Two cups of good quality ricotta cheese with the Juice of one lemon and a dash of Espelette powder blended in (this is a variation of chili powder and is optional)

1 cup of snow crab or lobster, kept as large as possible so it has a good presence in the stuffing

Two cobs of raw corn, freshly sliced from cob (David likes Silver Queen corn)

1 cup rough-chopped cilantro

1 cup sliced scallion

A couple dashes of smoked paprika Hot sauce, like Cholula Salt and Pepper

 

PREPARATION

Prepare the Poblano-Gouda Grits

While grits are still warm after cooking, add in the other two ingredients and stir.

 

BUERRE BLANC SAUCE

Put all but the last two in ingredients in large pot and bring to boil.

 

Boil on high until there is very little liquid left.

 

Leave burner on high, and add the heavy cream.

 

Leave on high until the bubbles are the size of a quarter.

 
 

Turn off heat and add the pound of butter, whisking to incorporate while it melts (if all butter doesn’t melt, then turn the burner back on medium-low while whisking it in).

 
 

Strain the sauce and discard the remaining herbs.

Taste the sauce. If it has a bitter flavor, add a pinch of sugar or some honey or agave nectar. Keep the sauce warm while you fry the blossoms. You can do this by putting the pot down into a larger pot of warm water.

 

Prepare the Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Select six or eight squash blossoms that have a nice, large “bowl.” Clean by gently swishing in cold water, and drain on a paper towel. Then pinch out the stamen from the center of each blossom and discard. Squash flowers are delicate and should be used on the day of picking for the best flavor. If you must store, keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week on a paper towel.

Prepare the stuffing by folding all of the stuffing ingredients together into a large mixing bowl, except for the seafood and seasonings, which you will add last. Fold together gently.

 
 

Add the seafood and then gently fold a couple more times to blend the seafood without tearing it apart too much.

 

Season with the spices and hot sauce to taste.

 

Stuff the Blossoms

For easy stuffing without tearing, use kitchen scissors to cut a lengthwise slit down one side of the blossom.

 

Form the stuffing mixture into oblong shapes a bit skinnier than an egg.

 
 

Place one egg-sized ball into each squash blossom.

 

Gently fold the blossom around the filling, cupping the end and sides and gently squeezing to seal it.

 

Set aside on paper towel lined cookie sheet while you prepare the others (do not use wax paper or it will cause sogginess and affect the cooking)

Fry the Blossoms

Preheat oven to 400.

Prepare the tempura batter by whisking together the dry ingredients and then adding 1.5 cups of chillded selzer water and whisk until smooth.

Place each stuffed blossom in a bowl of dry flour or cornstarch, and work some of the flour or cornstarch over top of the blossom, covering the entire flower.

 

Remove the blossom from the flour/corn starch and then place it in the tempura batter, ensuring full coverage. Retrieve the blossom by the stem and let the excess batter drip off.

 

Submerge the blossom gently into the hot oil and watch closely; they cook very quickly.

 

 

When the blossom looks golden brown, probably in less than a minute, use a metal strainer to retrieve it from the oil, let excess oil fall way.

Place on a cookie sheet in 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes, before plating.

Plate the Blossoms
Place atop the grits on the individual plates.

 

Pour the Buerre Blanc sauce around the perimeter of the grits. Sprinkle some of the Espelette powder lightly over everything, and then garnish with some micro greens and edible flower petals.

 
 

Enjoy!