Squash Blossoms and Happy Boy Farms
I look forward to Sundays. And not in the sleep in, relax, have a cup of coffee and do nothing kind of Sunday. I can’t even sleep in on Sunday. Why? Because I. Am. So. Excited. Sunday is Farmer’s market day at Fort Mason in San Francisco. My Sunday routine is flawlessly the same every week. Wake up. Eat eggs. Consider going for run. Don’t go for run. Walk to market. Walk around entire market and sample. Walk around entire market again to check prices, re-think about recipes and look for inspiration. Sample. Walk around one final, third time to actually buy items. And sample. Harass my favorite farmer for forgetting the tatsoi on his truck. Walk home, curse the three flights I have to walk up because I just HAD to live on the top floor. FInally, lay out all my goods to use that as inspiration for my next post, which brings me to squash blossoms and Happy Boy Farms.
Happy Boy Farms is a family run, organic farm in Watsonville, California (wherever that is). The darling girls who work each week at the market bring us city folk fresh, lovely, seasonal produce that is unique and ever changing from week to week. This week’s inspiration came from squash blossoms and edible flowers that they sold this week along with zucchini, radishes, and golden beets. So thank you, Happy Boy Farms, for having the same flawless Sunday routine of bringing me fantastic produce from Lordknowswhere, California so that I might lug it up to my 3rd floor apartment and fry up some squash blossoms.
Fried Squash Blossoms and Shaved Zucchini Salad Recipe
For this recipe, you’ll need a mandolin slicer. And if you don’t have a mandolin slicer, you’ll need a vegetable peeler. You’ll also need a nice 1/2 bottle of inexpensive oil (vegetable or canola), a deep pan for frying, and all your fingers so you can afford to lose one or two between the slicing and the frying.
For the Zucchini Salad
2 small zucchini
Small bunch radishes
2 small beets
5 stalks asparagus
Mixed Green Salad
Salt & Pepper
Goat Cheese (optional)
1/4c Hazelnuts (optional), sliced
Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant. WATCH CAREFULLY as these suckers will burn. Once you smell them, take them out immediately. Set aside. Slice zucchini, radishes, beets, and asparagus (leave tops whole for the salad) and place in a ice bath. The ice bath keeps veggies fresh and makes the zucchini curl up and look purdy.
Set everything aside for final preparation, below.
For the salad Dressing
1/4c olive oil
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Whisk everything together rapidly. If you’re obsessive about emulsifying (process of separating the oils with all the vinegars), do this in a mini blender.
For the Squash Blossoms
4 large squash blossom flowers
1 4oz container of goat cheese, room temperature or slightly softened in microwave
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup seltzer water
2 tbs flour
2-3 cups vegetable or canola oil
Before I start, note that the basil/parsley/chives mix is not because of some magical genius mix of herbs. It’s just what I have growing out on my fire escape. Really, you can use most fresh herbs – tarragon, sage, thyme and oregano would all be fantastic. There are also plenty of recipes online for super fancy fried squash blossoms with roasted tomatoes, different cheeses, small bits of gold, etc, but I like my squash blossoms nice and simple. On to the recipe…
Mince herbs and mix in with goat cheese. Add S&P to taste. Stuff squash blossoms with goat cheese mixture, but do not over-stuff. These squash blossoms should look like they ate too many chips before their enchilada at the Mexican food restaurant. NOT like they were trying to get their money’s worth with fried chicken, potato rolls, mashed potatoes & gravy and the ice cream sundae bar at Old Country Buffet.
In a medium bowl, mix seltzer water with flour and a pinch of S&P.
Heat oil in a fryer or deep saucepan over high medium high heat (meaning just below medium high, but not quite high). There should be about an inch of oil in the pan. Note, in the photos below I have TOO MUCH OIL in the pan. This caused splatter and a small, 1/2 second fire on my stove so don’t do that. Less oil, no fire. Ok?
The oil is hot enough when you drop in a tiny bit of the flour/seltzer mix and it sizzles.
Using thongs (for finger protection), dip each stuffed squash blossom in the setlzer-flour mixture, shake off excess, and GENTLY drop into oil. Let sizzle, turning gently using thongs, until browned. Set aside on a separate plate. Do each blossom separately so that the oil can re-heat after each one.
Assemble the salad
Dress the mixed greens with 1/2 the salad dressing. Drain remaining veggies, pat dry, and dress with remaining salad dressing. Top with goat cheese, hazelnuts, and squash blossoms. Enjoy immediately with a glass of wine and a silent cheers to all the farmers that bring us fantastic veggies to your home (wherever that may be).
Special thanks to my lovely friend, Christina, who was patient and helpful enough to help me with all the photos. Including the ones where I asked her to wait 10 minutes after the food was cooked while I photographed on my (clean) floor.