Our new local farmer’s veggie basket this week came with 4 zucchini blossoms, which I have eaten before but never cooked for myself.
I made a micro-batch today, it was easy (except for the frying splatter – I always burn myself but that’s what I get for not wearing an apron and long sleeves or just geting a splatter guard) — and they tasted delicious!
I used this recipe from epicurious but scaled it down and made a few slight changes. There was lots of extra ricotta filling leftover, which is good to mix in with pasta and bake off later.
We preferred the darker ones (on right), cooked a touch longer and they had more flavor.
Ingredients (for 12-16 blossoms):
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil [or mint]
- 2/3 cup grated pecorino romano, divided
- 12 to 16 large zucchini squash blossoms
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup water [or chilled seltzer or club soda]
- About 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- kosher salt (to sprinkle lightly on blossoms after frying)
- Stir together ricotta, yolk, basil, 1/3 cup pecorino, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
- Put this mixture into a ziplock bag and seal it. Snip off the corner so that you can use it to fill the blossoms easily.
- Carefully open each blossom, remove the stamen tip, and fill with ricotta filling, leaving space to close the blosson by gently twisting the end of blossom to enclose it.
- Whisk together the flour, remaining 1/3 cup pecorino, and water or seltzer in a small bowl. The batter should be loose.
- Heat 1/2 inch oil to 375°F in a 10-inch heavy skillet (I used a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature). You’ll cook about half of the blossoms in the first batch. Dip the blossoms in batter to thinly coat and gently place the coated blossoms in the oil and fry, turning only once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes total.
- Transfer with tongs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Lightly salt the fried blossoms. Then coat and fry the remaining blossoms. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Season newly fried batch with salt.
- Serve these right away. You can serve them with marinara sauce on the side for dipping but they are so delicious we prefer them plain.
According to Wikipedia, they resemble the nut of the Ohio buckeye tree, the state tree of Ohio. Clearly I didn’t use enough chocolate if they’re supposed to look like the nut!
After a week of this heatwave there is no way that I am going to turn the oven on, so I was searching for something with peanut butter and chocolate that required no baking but wasn’t a weird no-bake dessert — I’m not a fan of “no-bake cakes.” Making these little peanut butter & chocolate truffle-like treats was easy and made Chris very happy (all hail the peanut butter king). I imagine kids would love these. This is not a sophisticated palate kind of treat but it’s fun (especially if you love sweets with PB & chocolate). Especially good straight out of the fridge — they’ll need to stay there in this weather anyway.
The scaries part of this Buckeyes recipe (from The New York Times) was the comments section. People mentioned that old-school versions of this recipe call for parafin wax to be added to the chocolate coating – you know, the wax made from petroleum and used to seal canning jars in the old days — eek!
I had to double the chocolate for the coating because the recipe made more than they said it would (the author said it would make 30 but it made 49 for me using a #100 scoop – it’s a good size scoop for truffles or very small cookies). Chris was willing to sacrifice and eat # 49 since I could only fit 48 on the half sheet pan that went into the fridge.
Buckeyes: makes about 4 dozen
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif – natural PBs don’t hold together as well)
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt (if you’re using salted butter then only add 1/4 tsp salt)
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chopped, or just use chocolate chips, which I did)
- Line a half sheet pan or baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of your mixer beat the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt on medium speed until smooth and uniform, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scoop the mixture into 1 teaspoon-sized balls (I used a #100 scoop). Roll the balls into spheres between your palms. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and chill in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
- A few minutes before the balls are done chilling, prepare the chocolate. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in short bursts, stirring often. I usually do 45 seconds, then 30 seconds, and that’s enough, but if not try another 10 seconds. I the the chocolate in two batches only because the original recipe called for half the chocolate. If chocolate becomes too thick during the dipping process, it can be liquified again in the microwave (try 10 seconds).
- Use a toothpick to skewer one ball at a time, and dip it into the melted chocolate, leaving a small circle of the peanut butter mixture exposed at the top and allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Transfer buckeyes to the prepared baking sheet and remove the toothpick. Repeat with the remaining balls, returning them to the freezer for a few minutes if they become too soft to work with. Smooth over the holes left by the toothpick with a small offset spatula or your finger (Scruffy wanted to help with this part by licking them but I had to refuse him). Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. (We’re keeping them in the fridge as it’s too hot to leave them out.)
On a completely unrelated note, we just picked up our first basket from Farmer Dave, a local guy who is a chef, a farmer, and sells boxes of veggies, fruit, artisan bread and all kinds of lovely stuff from his home. It’s just a small batch but it’s awesome (and only $15)! We even got some home made bread and pulled pork. The veggies were beautiful and we even got a pint of delicious blueberries. We gobbled up the bread (still warm!) and pulled pork right away for dinner and I made some walnut/basil pesto – soon I’ll make a zucchini quiche and try making squash blossoms for the first time. Yay!
Yay fresh veggies!