Entire farms produce only squash blossoms. When we see them on menus, we mentally congratulate the chef and proceed to order. Who can resist these golden blooms? Certainly not me, but I often wondered why fried squash blossoms are exalted while fried zucchini is for the gastronomically challenged chain pizzeria going set. Is the blossom so much more delicious than the actual squash?
We had to find out. Squash blossoms are $5 for 20 at Grand Army, so we decided to make this our first dual posting and make two dishes with them this weekend. We had planned on having guests over but since that didn’t pan out, eating 10 deep fried blossoms per person seemed a little excessive.
For lunch today, I made a squash blossom soup recipe from Rick Bayless, halving the recipe and adding our own tweaks. It was a delicious splash of summer, but other than the aesthetically pleasing streaks of gold provided by the blossoms, I don’t think the soup was markedly better tasting as a result of the flores de calabaza – in fact, the bases of the flowers are almost bitter – think zucchini skin multiplied by 10. Make this soup with and without squash blossoms, try it blindfolded, and let us know what you think!
Golden Squash Blossom Soup (Sopa de Flores de Calabaza)
1-1/2 Tbs. butter
1/2 large white onion, chopped into
2.5 cups good chicken broth
1 small red potato, diced
12 large, fresh squash blossoms
1 cup milk
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen corn (we didn’t have fresh but this will do just fine)
Cilantro for garnish
Pinch of smoked salt
3-4 Tbsp Vermont Pepper Works chipotle chili sauce
Lime juice to taste
In a medium (4-qt.) soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly brown, about 5 min. Scoop out half of the onion and set aside. Add the broth and potato, partially cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 min.
While the broth is simmering, prepare the squash blossoms. Peel off the sepals that come out from the base of the blossoms. Break off the stems. Remove the stamen in the center of each flower and discard. Cut the blossoms crosswise into 1⁄4-in. strips, including the bulbous base.
Add half the blossoms to the broth and simmer 3 min. Blend with immersion blender.
Add corn, milk and reserved onion to the soup; bring to a simmer and cook for 10 min. Add the zucchini, simmer a couple of minutes, then add the remaining squash blossoms. Simmer a couple of minutes longer (the strips of blossom will soften into deep-golden “streamers”). Remove from heat, stir in the cream, taste, and season with salt, black pepper, smoked salt and a few good shakes of the chili sauce. Top with minced cilantro and a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice.