Let's vote this the most elegant appetizer ever made and say no more.
A couple of months ago, while Diana and I were looking at exciting new items to prepare for the Art of Real Food, vol 4, I was looking online to see what people had to share about the taste of zucchini blossoms.
Someone said that they tasted like air. If that is the case, then they taste like the air in heaven and kind of look like they belong there, too.
You can buy squash blossoms at a Farmers' market, you can pick them in your garden, your neighbor's garden or convince your grandpa to look away while you destroy the future of what could have been the largest squash in his greenhouse. Either way, if you've ever bit into a warm, soft, airy and delicious stuffed squash blossom, you will find a way to get your hands on them.
A few years ago I talked to a Chinese lady who claimed the only proper way to handle a squash blossom was to stuff it with ground meat and then steam it. She was so insistent on it that it took me a couple of years to build up the courage to approach squash blossoms with another idea.
So I stuffed them with cream cheese, olives, and arugula flowers. Were they amazing? You bet!!!
Here is what I used to stuff 12 of them:
12 squash blossoms
3 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp arugula flowers (chopped arugula leaves will do the same job)
2 tbsp chopped black olives
a really small spoon
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch sea salt
And that is all. Cream cheese has enough softness to carry the saltiness of the olives, and arugula adds a necessary bitterness to the mixture to make it perfectly matched. If you don't have arugula, use an herb you like, such as basil or parsley, or dill weed or Verbena, you can make it work!
To make the stuffing, mix the softened cream cheese, chopped olives and arugula. Wash and dry the blossoms, making sure no insects are hiding inside. Open each blossom up carefully and stuff with a couple of teaspoons of the mixture. Close by twisting the ends together. Salt all of the blossoms lightly.
In a pan over medium heat, heat up the olive oil and place the blossoms inside. Wait until they have turned slightly golden and turn over. Take out by the stems and arrange on a plate to enjoy immediately. These are addictive, so be sure you will make them again. Experiment with different stuffing, such as ricotta and Parmesan, prosciutto, blue cheese, mushrooms, nuts and even seafood. You can bake them or steam them, just bear in mind that they really carry the flavor of the oil, so use delicious and flavorful oils you enjoy! Let me know how yours turned out!
If some of your squash blossoms don't open or break, feel free to put them in an omelet :) Maybe there is a hungry Paleo guy in your kitchen, too :)