I was hanging out at my youngest uncle's house while he was puttering around in his garden. Lucky me because he was picking squash blossoms and decided to give me the whole batch. As you can see, it filled my large colander. I had so many blossoms I ended up preparing them in three ways.
Squash blossoms should be picked in the morning, or else they'll wilt on the vine by afternoon. You might be able to find some at your local farmers' market. Store them in the fridge if you're not going to cook them immediately. They should be cooked within a few days since the blossoms are delicate and don't store well.
Remove the green stamens from the center. Then gently rinse the inside to remove any bugs, and soak in a bowl of water. Gently shake dry but leave the blossoms a bit wet. Some of the recipes I've seen have them stuffed with cheese. I'm not much of a cheese eater and I'd rather give these delicate blooms a Vietnamese twist so here's my version.
Bong Bi Nhoi Tom Chien (Vietnamese Shrimp-Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms)
As many squash blossoms as you want to eat
About 2 shrimp per squash blossom
A clove of garlic or two
A dash of Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
A dash of salt
A dash of sugar
Peel the shrimp and mince finely. I only had about a dozen shrimp left in the freezer, so for that amount, I added 1 garlic clove and literally a tiny dash each of fish sauce, salt, and sugar. I wanted to keep the shrimp taste as natural as possible so that it didn't overpower the squash blossom.
With a pair of chopsticks, gently stuff each squash blossom like so.
I managed to stuff 7 blossoms. Don't worry if the ends aren't completely closed, that'll happen when they get fried. Oh yeah, add oil to your wok or frying pan and turn the heat to medium to warm up.
You know how much I love my kitchen stuff. Have I shown you my wok? It's 16 inches in diameter. Wonderful for frying because the wide rim keeps the oil from splattering all over my kitchen. If you don't own one, you really must. A wok is incredibly versatile. Mine was bought for $10 at A Chau in Fountain Valley but you can find them for about that much at most Asian grocery stores. And my brass strainer? It's 10 inches in diameter. I bought it from a restaurant supply store for $5. It'll come in real handy in a minute.
Lightly dust the squash blossoms with flour. Leaving the blossoms a bit wet helps the flour cling better. See how they all fit on my large strainer?
I just leave the strainer in my wok to fry.
Then lift the whole thing out when the shrimp turns pink. Squash blossoms still intact and I didn't have to fish for them in the oil.
Serve immediately. The squash blossoms had such a nice green, summery taste. The flower parts were slightly crispy. The thicker green parts were moist and juicy. Eat them plain or dipped in sweetened Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce).
I brought them over to my youngest uncle (since he did give me the squash blossoms and all) and he was suitably impressed. He normally just blanches them and dips them with fish sauce, he said. Since I had such a big batch, I cooked squash blossoms in two other ways but we'll get to that in later posts.
My squash blossoms recipes:
Crostinis with Arugula Pesto, Bruschetta al Pomodoro, and Squash Blossom Ricotta
Deep-fried Squash Blossoms
Deep-fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Basil and Cottage Cheese
Ravioli with Basil, Squash Blossoms, and Ricotta
Sauteed Squash Blossoms
Squash Blossom Omelet
Squash Blossom and Prosciutto Pizza
Squash Blossom Quesadilla