Chef Renee Schuler, owner of catering company Eat Well, spent childhood summers feasting on the bounty of her Aunt Suzanne’s lovingly tended garden. Zucchini was always abundant, and its blossoms were just too beautiful to ignore. Schuler modifies her aunt’s signature recipe slightly, opting for housemade ricotta with basil or feta cheese with fresh dill instead of Aunt Suzanne’s choice of Gruyere. We’ll let you pick your poison.
For the tempura batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup cold beer or seltzer water
1 tsp salt
1. Mix flour with cornstarch and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2. Make a well in the center and add the beer and olive oil. Gently fold the liquid into the dry mixture. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps; it’s better not to over-mix it. Refrigerate the batter for about an hour.
For the filling
24 squash blossoms
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp sour cream
2 large eggs, divided
¹⁄³ cup feta, ricotta, or gruyere cheese
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 scallion, minced
1 tsp fresh dill or basil (optional)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, cheeses, scallion, and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon one teaspoon of filling into each blossom and twist the tops closed. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
4. In a deep cast iron pan, preheat 2–3 inches of vegetable oil to 360 degrees. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold into the batter. Gently dip the blossoms into the flour, shake off excess, then dip into the batter. It will be a very thin coating.
5. Carefully slip the blossoms into the hot oil to avoid splashing. Cook until golden brown, carefully turning as needed. Remove from oil with a strainer or basket and drain on a paper towel–lined tray. Give the oil time to recover between batches, cooking at no less than 350 degrees and no more than 375 degrees. Keep the blossoms warm in a 200 degree oven for up to two hours, or cool and re-heat in a convection oven set at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Serve with tomato sauce or a pinch of sea salt.