Sausage stuffed squash blossoms
Several days ago I pulled a rather large squash vine from the garden that was showing powdery mildew infestation. It was actually one-half of a plant that had an equally long vine trailing in the opposite direction, and since it's mate looked unblemished and had healthy squash attached I didn't feel like it was a great loss to cut and remove this section of the plant. I pulled the 7-foot vine into the driveway to let the sun bake and wilt it before disposing. A couple days later it still looked green and pliant. Even more interestingly, more than a dozen of the previously undeveloped flower heads had fully developed and opened as the severed appendage lay on the cement in the hot sun.
Rather than allow the bright yellow flowers to go to waste I clipped them and have used them as pizza toppings and stuffed and fried them for breakfast. I've loved the idea and image of stuffed squash blossoms ever since I first saw them in a Italian cookbook back in the 1980s. Even though I've made them many times since then they still strike me as exotic and picturesque.
This morning we made a stuffing of sausage, mushrooms, onions and cheese. The only cheese I had on hand was some ricotta, which is ok but not ideal for stuffing blossoms that are to be fried in oil. You have to fry quickly, lest the ricotta turn liquidy. I'd prefer something like a good parmesan or even a chewy pepperjack, but you work with what you have at hand. So I pre-cooked the sausage with the mushrooms and onions, let it cool and then mixed with the ricotta before stuffing the flowers.
Once the flowers are stuffed, dust with flour, roll in a beaten egg and then re-roll in flour spiced with salt, pepper and paprika. Fry quickly in heated oil, flipping with tongs after only a minute or two. Add fresh tomatoes, a cool, beautiful morning, and imagine you're in Italy.