Light Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms
When I discovered my garden was overflowing with male squash blossoms AND that I could eat them I set about looking for a recipe to use. I searched online, of course, and many not all but many recipes called for deep frying or pan frying the stuffed and breaded squash blossoms. I'm just not that into frying foods, especially if it's already a healthy food then I have a hard time frying it up, and squash blossoms are relatively low calorie, roughly 5 calories a cup. Plus I thought filling it with cheese and then frying it was a double whammy. Now I'm never one to shy away from a good piece of fried chicken or enjoy french fries but such lovely food straight out of the garden just begs for a lighter touch.
Most of the recipes I found followed the same ricotta, egg, herbs, filling so I planned to use roughly that same idea. Another way to think of the cheese filling is to envision the cheese layer in a good lasagna, if you have a recipe you love for that scale it down and use it. If not follow the super easy, tasty ricotta filling I used, it's just about perfect.
A few notes about this recipe--the amounts of filling and panko depend on the size of your squash blossoms and how much you squeeze in each blossom--so if you have HUGE blossoms you'll probably make fewer and fill them a little more and likewise smaller blossoms will take less filling so you might need a few extra to use the filling up. I used average sized blossoms in the recipe but of course all plants will have all sizes of blossoms.
Light Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms
16 or so squash blossoms with 1-3 inch stems if possible--the male flower of a zucchini or pumpkin plant, go for just normal sizes if you have a choice
1 cup ricotta
1 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup chopped
1 garlic clove, minced--use as much as you like, cloves vary in size so choose one that suits your taste preference
good pinch of salt
3/4-1 cup panko bread crumbs
heat the oven to 400˚
grease a baking sheet big enough to hold the blossoms with out crowding them
look over your squash blossoms and make sure they are free of dirt and bugs, use a clean paint brush to flick any dirt way-if they have bugs in them a quick soak in lightly salted water will drive the bugs out BUT this will also make the blossoms a little more tender and prone to tearing, you can also remove the insides of the flower, the stamen, if you want to but it's not necessary because it cooks through and it's soft when cooked
put the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, basil and garlic in a small bowl and mix well
fill the cleaned squash blossoms with the ricotta mixture by using a spoon or 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 egg with the 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 back to the baking sheet it goes
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 or singe a little and bread crumbs are notorious (in my house) for burning