Don’t Throw ‘Um Out: Squash Blossoms

June 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Squash blossoms, or “flor de calabaza,” are delicate, edible zucchini flowers.  They exude a faint zucchini aroma, but their taste is mild and, as a result, easily overwhelmed by other flavors.  Many cooks peel back the fragile petals, careful to avoid tearing, and stuff the insides with mixtures of herbs and cheese before battering and frying the blossoms in oil.  Stuffed squash blossoms are delicious, but today, I decided to take a blossom detour: I sliced a handful of flowers in half and arranged them on a pizza — a minimalist pizza, that is — to really let their flavors shine.

I gently washed each blossom in room-temperature water and snapped off the stems.

While prepping the pizza dough, I allowed the blossoms to air-dry and handled them as little as possible.  I then sliced each one in half.

A trio of pizza toppings.

The final product, hot-off-the-pizza stone.

While few toppings beat fresh, off-the-vine tomatoes, the squash blossoms were the star of this pizza.  Under the broiler, they became crisp.  Upon ushering the pizza out of the oven, a wonderful, squash-like aroma billowed out of the hot air.  The taste was neither bland nor overpowering — it was subtle and just slightly sweet.  In your garden (or farmers’ market) look for the larger, male flowers attached to the stem and pick them when they look fully developed (like above), but before they open.  You can also pick the female flowers, which develop later on the plant and are attached to the fruit, but they’re smaller and have a shorter shelf-life.  Enjoy them raw, out of the garden, stuffed, on flat bread, as a “wrap,” a crepe garnish, you name it! Eat soon after picking, as they’re highly perishable.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free

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