Starting off as a large yellow blooming flower on the plant, surrounded by broad green leaves extending towards the sun’s rays, small summer squash begin to appear at the base of most of the flowers present.
Squash develops slowly, and progress is checked daily as one waits in anticipation for the harvest. Finally, the first squash is ready to be picked, with many more on the plant following close behind.
Anyone who has ever grown summer squash in their home garden, however, knows quite well that if you don’t pay close attention once the fruit is ready to be picked, it can really get away from you, transforming from a young tender squash into a massive overgrown beast only suitable for zucchini bread.
There are a number of stages that fresh summer squash can be harvested, starting with the flower itself, or the flower with a small squash less than three inches long still attached.
With both male and female flowers located on a single plant, it is the male flowers that tend to be more regularly harvested for culinary blossoms. Attached to a long stem, the male flower never transforms into summer squash like the female flower will. They also tend to be more open and broad, easier to work with in the kitchen.
Highly praised by local chefs and home food enthusiasts, fresh squash blossoms find its way on appetizer platters making for quite the seasonal treat. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is to stuff them with goat cheese and give them a quick coat of panko bread crumbs and fry. The end result is crispy, creamy, delicious.
Fried Goat Cheese Squash Blossoms
1 bunch or basket squash blossoms, about 8-10
6 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre). (I used a garlic herb flavor. Can also incorporate your own fresh herbs, finely chopped.)
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup Pablo bread crumbs
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Add a couple spoons of goat cheese into each squash blossom. Pinch the pedals together and twist the top to seal closed. Add flour, egg and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Toss seasoned salt with bread crumbs.
Add oil to a wide hallow pan, just enough to cover about a quarter inch layer and turn to medium-high heat. Dip each stuffed blossom in flour, then egg, then bread crumb. Fry each blossom in a single layer in the pan, about 2 minutes per side or until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to remove excess oil before serving warm.
Yield: Makes about 8-10 blossoms.