Crab-and Ricotta-Stuffed Tempura Squash Blossoms
TEMPURA SQUASH BLOSSOMS STUFFED WITH SNOW CRAB, RICOTTA AND SWEET CORN
Served with Roasted Poblano-Gouda Grits over Buerre Blanc Sauce
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
Stuff the Blossoms
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.
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.