Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tempura Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Served with a Tomato Dipping Sauce

We were at Spiceman's FM 1410 again this weekend, always curious about all the wonderfully fresh produce they have to offer.  Cole helped us this visit and they had the most beautiful squash blossoms, among many other tasty, veggie delights.  I had just seen a show on how to prepare these and I was all over that deal.  They literally are these gorgeous, yellow flowers that are edible.  Cole suggested we fry them in a tempura batter, which is exactly what we did, but we took it a step further and stuffed them with a savory, herb and goat cheese mixture.  We also made a zesty tomato dipping sauce that was a great compliment to these fried, crunchy treats.  If you don't want to spend the time making tempura from scratch, then buy the boxed batter in the Asian section of your grocery store.  I've always loved tempura fried vegetables (especially sweet potatoes) and now I will add this recipe to my repertoire.  This was so unique and interestingly good, I was thrilled with how well they turned out.  This would be a fun dish to serve at a dinner party or a luncheon.

In addition to the blossoms we got a $20 assortment of their wild mushrooms to make our fabulous Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup.  Check out this link to learn more about our new, favorite farmer's market, Spiceman's FM 1410 and also to check out this rich, earthy and flavorful soup. 

Spiceman's and our Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Tempura Batter:

1/4 cup rice flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups soda water

Goat Cheese Filling:

1 (8-ounce) log mild goat cheese, softened
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chervil or parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 squash blossoms
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
Fried Basil Leaves, recipe follows

Tempura Batter:

Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk in the soda water, a little at a time, until the right consistency is achieved. The batter should coat the back of a spoon, but some excess batter should run off the spoon. Allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before use.

Goat Cheese Filling:

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Shape the mixture into 1 tablespoon balls. Make sure the squash blossoms are well cleaned. Open the flowers and insert 1 goat cheese ball in each flower. Gently press the filling into the base of the flower. Cover with the petals and pinch the top to seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat a fryer or a deep pot halfway filled with peanut oil to 375 degrees F.

Hold the squash blossoms by the stem. Dip each into the tempura batter, making sure to coat completely. Let any excess batter drip off. Place the blossom in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, turning often to brown evenly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Place some of the Tomato Sauce on the bottom of a plate. Top with 2 squash blossoms and garnish with Fried Basil leaves.

Tomato Sauce:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Pinch chili flakes
2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
4 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat. Add the onion, garlic, and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Lower the heat and cook until the tomatoes start to disintegrate and mixture is of sauce consistency, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme, basil, and remaining olive oil and mix well.

Fried Basil Leaves:

Vegetable oil or peanut oil
8 basil leaves
Heat about 1/2-inch of the oil in a steep-sided saute pan to 350 degrees F. Or heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees F.

Pat the basil leaves dry to remove any surface water. Carefully drop the basil leaves in the hot oil. The oil will spit and splatter as the moisture in the leaves fries. Fry for 10 seconds or just until the leaves start to become translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.

1 comment:

  1. These goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms were delicious and unique. I have never had tempura fried flowers before, but they were great! This one is definitely a keeper!