Squash blossoms are indeed the piece de resistance of the early Summer Farmers Markets! I was beyond elated when I opened our CSA share this past Wednesday and saw a small container housing 12 elegant squash blossoms! My mouth began watering and I was immediately dreaming of meals I’ve enjoyed at Spacca Napoli, one of our FAV Chicago spots for Neapolitan pizza. Often during this time of year fried squash blossoms have been a surprise pop-up item on their dinner menu and each and every time they have these we order them and indulge! Light fluffy ricotta cheese is whipped with garlic, basil, and herbs and stuffed into the blossoms and then lightly breaded and fried…the perfect crunchy exterior and ooey gooey cheesy interior! Ohhh…just so delicious!
While most often I see squash blossoms fried I wanted to try a recipe where I could bake them – eliminating the fried oil smell in our apartment and in part to be a bit healthier! I found this recipe that couldn’t have been easier and baking the squash blossoms still yielded that same crunchy exterior you get when frying. I was pretty impressed! I decided to use seasoned Panko bread crumbs, which is a Japanese style breadcrumb that is typically a lighter flakier texture than standard breadcrumbs.
The toughest part was stuffing the ricotta filling into the squash blossoms, simply because the blossoms are so delicate and they can rip so easily. I decided to pipe the filling into the blossoms using a large ziploc bag. Just fill the ziploc bag with the ricotta filling, squeeze the filling to one of the bottom corners, and then trim off the end to create a piping bag. Voila! Once the squash blossoms are filled you simply dip in the egg, bread with the Panko crumbs, and bake!
- 12-16 squash blossoms
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 eggs (divided for the ricotta filling and breading of the blossoms)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease. I sprayed with olive oil PAM.
- Look over your squash blossoms and make sure they are free of dirt and bugs, use a clean brush to flick any dirt and bugs away. You don't need to remove the insides of the flower, it cooks through and becomes soft once cooked.
- Mix the ricotta, 1 egg, salt, pepper, basil and garlic in a small bowl.
- Fill the cleaned squash blossoms with the ricotta mixture by using a piping bag, dividing the filling evenly between the blossoms. Once they're all filled give each one a twist by holding the stem and the top of the blossom and turning it, this will seal the blossom so it can be dipped and rolled without having the filling flop out.
- To "bread" them beat the 2nd egg with a pinch of salt in a small bowl, place about half the panko in another bowl, both should be big enough to hold a blossom. Dip each blossom carefully in the egg, let the excess drip back in for a moment and the roll lightly in the panko and then place on the foil lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the rest of the blossoms adding more panko to the bowl as needed.
- Bake in the preheated oven on a middle rack for roughly 15 minutes, watch them towards the end because you don't want them to brown too much.
- I drizzled a little Sriracha on top of the squash blossoms after they were pulled out of the oven to add a little heat to the very mellow flavors.