Squash blossoms are the brilliant yellow flowers still attached to immature zucchini when they turn up at the market in the late spring. With a delicate texture and mild flavor, they’re delicious stuffed with many different cheeses — we like them with whole-milk ricotta, but try soft goat cheese, feta or fresh mozzarella, too.
Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta
18 large zucchini blossoms, stems intact
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Canola oil for frying
Fried fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs for serving (optional)
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Remove the stamen from the center of each blossom. Gently wash and pat dry the blossoms. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the ricotta into the center of each blossom. Twist the tips of the petals closed and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and fine sea salt. Add the olive oil, egg, and 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) water and whisk to make a batter.
Pour the canola oil into a deep saute pan to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm.). Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) on a deep-frying thermometer. One at a time, gently slip the stuffed blossoms into the batter and turn to coat evenly. Using a slotted spatula, lift the blossoms from the batter, allowing the excess to drip off, and carefully lower into the hot oil. Fry in batches of 4 or 5, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart and turning once if needed to brown evenly, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Using the spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain.
If making the fried parsley garnish, when all of the blossoms are cooked, add the parsley sprigs to the hot oil and fry just until lightly crisped, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle the zucchini blossoms with coarse sea salt and top with the parsley, if desired. Serve at once. Makes 18 stuffed blossoms.