Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Local Summer Week 6

I'm so disappointed to have missed my post last week, but with all the rain making it hard to harvest local ingredients, and leaving early for our annual July family visit, I never got the chance to make a local meal. The closest I got in fact, was the Hummel's hot dog I ate on my way to Yankee Stadium on Friday. (By the way, if you have never had a Hummel's and you eat hot dogs, you need to make a point of getting to Connecticut to try one...there's nothing like it!) Thankfully we are finally seeing the sun again in New England (I may even turn on the sprinklers soon!) and I was able to get some great ingredients from our garden.

While in Italy some years ago, I had my first taste of squash blossoms. Unfortunately, once I returned to the States I was never able to find them again. One of the reasons we wanted to start our own garden was to be able to grow the ingredients we have not been able to purchase. When choosing zucchini to plant, I make it a point to find one or two varieties that claim to have numerous male blossoms (these do not produce fruit, but are needed for pollination) that are great for eating.

Farfalle with baby peas and squash blossoms

3/4 lb of farfalle (or any short dried pasta)
1 cup baby peas
12 male squash blossoms
2 Tablespoons European style butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

If you have fresh peas, be sure to shuck them before cooking, you don't want snap peas in this dish.

To prepare the squash blossoms, rinse them gently under cold water to remove any debris. Carefully open the blossom, and pull out the pistil. Remove the blossoms from the rest of the stem. Chop the blossoms into fairly large pieces.

Once the water is boiling, salt it and add the farfalle. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. When the pasta has about 4 minutes remaining, begin to melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Do not allow it to brown. With 2 minutes remaining, add the blossoms to the butter and gently cook. Add the peas to the pasta pot when there is 1 minute left to cook. Drain the pasta and peas and add to the skillet. Toss the pasta, peas and blossoms together in the butter and remove from heat. Serve immediately with cheese - a fresh ricotta, feta or goat cheese is best, but you can never go wrong with a bit of parmigiano reggiano.

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Anonymous July 15, 2009 at 4:37 AM  

I saw some squash blossoms for sale at the farmers' market this past week, but I passed them up... silly me it seems. I never know how to use them. Do you have any more ideas?

Kristin July 15, 2009 at 5:45 AM  

Funny enough, we had them again last night! This time, I stuffed them with a bit of feta (ricotta or mozzarella is more traditional), then dipped them in batter and fried them. They are incredible that way! Tonight I'm going to pick some to put on a pizza. I have also read somewhere that they are a popular Mexican ingredient, usually used in quesadillas. I have to figure out which squash it actually is, but we have one plant with at least 10 male flowers on it at a time ready for picking! They are well worth the effort :) enjoy!

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