July 04, 2010

To Market, To Market...

Market Stuffed Squash Blossoms.

One of my favorite aspects of summer is our local farmer's markets. I literally get giddy Friday evening thinking of what I might find the next morning. This week I had the luxury of sneaking out of the house before the kids woke up! Off I went, TOTALLY ALONE, to pursue the market.

The crisp morning air swept across my face as I sauntered toward my goal. Gentle sunlight gleamed down on the white tent tops like a soft kiss. The colorful silhouettes and aromas were a feast for the senses. A perfect mingling of purpose and pleasure. There truly is not another errand I'd rather run!

It's amazing how you can walk into an almost empty market and 45 minutes later wriggle your way out of a horde of bodies hovering over tables and waving their cash! All are light-hearted and relaxed, no doubt, but still a swarming mass of people! It's always best to get there right before it opens. The first to arrive get the best of everything. You snooze, you lose...literally!

Saturday morning I often bump into neighbors and friends. We exchange vendor tips, and a look of regard saved for those "in the know" on the farm-stand scene. It's a scene, all right! You really get a sense of who's running the show in your town's local food movement.

A good friend once asked me, "What's so great about the farmer's market? It's just vegetables." "Everything!" I emphatically told her. It's true! The produce is picked at dawn on the day of market, so it's ultra fresh (meaning richer in nutrients and it lasts longer). Almost everything is organic, and if it's not, you can ask the grower every detail about their product. You actually get to know the farmers you are buying from! Other than veggies, there's fresh local meat and seafood, local dairy and eggs, fruit, homemade baked goods, fresh pasta, soaps and "green cleaners", candles, potted plants, homemade blankets and pillows... Many of these items are hard-to-find in stores. Last week I found local goat fudge! It was unbelievable! Plus you are supporting families in your own community! Most cities have an online listing of their farmer's market. Here's ours, Asheville Farmer's Markets.

The ability to get your hands on items not sold in stores, ALIGHTS CREATIVITY! I came home this Saturday and cooked a marvelous breakfast, then set in on lunch. I found huge squash blossoms for 25 cents each! I don't know about you, but a good deal gives me the shakes!

The most common preparation for squash blossoms is stuffing them. You can fill them with any flavorful concoction you choose, then simply twist the petals together and pan fry them! I like to dip them first in a thin, tempura-like batter, to keep all the filling from working its way out. This week I also found garlic scapes. They sound (and look) odd, but are actually just the stalks of the garlic bulb. Scapes have a milder garlic flavor and can be chopped up like a scallion. I decided to throw them in the filling, along with local goat cheese, and some of my enormous basil leaves. I served the squash blossoms over a salad of endive-frisee, arugula, and basil leaves, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. The result was divine! My husband said it might even be his favorite thing to eat--which is saying a lot, because it was a meat-free meal for a mid-western man!

Squash blossoms are VERY perishable and usually won't make it more then 24 hours. If you buy them with a baby squash attached, they last a little longer. I usually come home and immediately put them in a shallow dish of water,  keeping all the petals above the waterline. Then I plan to cook them either for lunch or dinner of the same day.

Your local farmer's market is a true culinary adventure, and not to be missed!


Market Stuffed Squash Blossoms

8-10 squash blossoms
4 garlic-scapes, chopped (could substitute garlic or scallions)
2 Tb. chopped dried cherries
1 Tb. unsalted butter
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup soft goat cheese
2 Tb. chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup seltzer or club soda

Oil for frying

Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add a pat of butter, chopped scapes and chopped cherries. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the panko and stir for 1-2 minutes until the panko has toasted. Turn the heat off and stir in the goat cheese and basil. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Spoon the filling into the squash blossoms and gently twist the petals together to seal.

Wipe out the skillet with a damp paper towel. Then pour in enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the skillet. Return the heat to medium-high. Mix the flour, white pepper, curry and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in the club soda.

Dip each blossom in the batter. Shake off the drippings and carefully place in the hot oil.

Pan-fry for 1-2 minutes per side. I usually turn mine 2-3 times. Remove from the pan the drain on a paper towel. Repeat if needed.

Serve alone as an appetizer, with aioli, or over a salad as a light meal.

Market Stuffed Squash Blossoms on Foodista


  1. Love the dried cherries as part of the filling. It must make a sweet blossom.

  2. Nothing compares to shopping at the farmer's market. I always get back home with my bag of goodies and can't wait to get started on cooking up something super fresh and delicious.

    Those squash blossoms look incredible!

  3. I can't agree with you more about buying at the farmer's market. I LOVE this use of squash blossoms. It's so creative!

  4. You have a lovely farmers market! We're not that far away from each other; I'm just down the road in Charlotte. I'll be up your way in September for a blog conference and I can't wait!

    I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July holiday. Your squash blossoms look like they were divine!

  5. This looks amazing! what a great idea for a recipe!!!

  6. Never seen these in my life, I will keep an eye out - look so good

  7. This looks like a really need market. You are very lucky. Great find on the squash blossoms!

  8. Delicious and gorgeous squash blossoms, and lovely market pics!

  9. your squash blossoms look incredible.....I missed our market this week, and I am sure they were out, I have been patiently waiting!! this weekend for sure!

  10. lovely farmers market, goat fudge oh how divine..25cents a blossom oh you lucky lucky girl..good deals give me the shakes also and makes my heart flutter..I love the filling cherries and goat cheese...yum


  11. Lovely posts, there is nothing better than farmers markets! and your zucchini blossoms are so fresh, my mom used to make them often, I rarely do, thanks for the reminder and for the beautiful recipe!

  12. Giddy?!
    That's also how I feel when I get to my local farmer's market!
    I've never tried to stuff my blossoms, it sounds good. The dried cherries too...
    Thank you for the inspiration

  13. Man your lucky! We don't have the luxury that I know of a for true local farmers markets. Most that I have attended get their produce from the same place the grocery stores do right off the commercial truck. We always joke that the produce is "fresh right off the truck" I've always wanted to try squash blossoms. Thank you for this recipe.

  14. Your farmers market looks great, I love the one we have here and totally agree that it inspires creativity and your stuffed squash blossoms prove it!

  15. Those food markets ! This one looks great.
    Unfortunately, blossoms are not available here on markets (and even in Paris it is very, very difficult to get them).
    One can find some blossoms in restaurants (I wonder where do they buy them).
    Very good recipe, and pictures, too - as always.

  16. Very nice farmers market! We are pretty lucky here in the mountains of NC. I love your squash blossoms. I hope I see some of them here soon!

  17. Your zucchini blossoms look perfect and so tasty!

  18. That looks like fried flowery goodness!!!!

  19. just a great market, ours is about to wind down as its getting too hot for produce around here.....and your stuffing is amazing with the use of the dried cranberries

  20. They're so pretty. I had no idea the blossoms had such a short shelf life.

  21. I've never seen squash blossoms before...these look awesome stuffed! Glad you were able to enjoy a solo trip to the farmer's market :)

  22. What? They are too pretty to eat! What a creative dish.

  23. I’ve only been to a farmers market once but it was heaps of fun!! The one I went to doesn’t look quite as interesting as yours though- for one thing, I didn’t find any squash blossoms- they’re so pretty! And they look so delicious too- I love fried foods =]

  24. Oh, I know that hot and cold rush and the heart going all pitter patter because you scored at the market ROFL. Foodies really are a breed apart *sigh* Neither shoes nor diamonds make me feel THAT good ;)

    Gorgeous dish and I totally agree with your husband! I would have loved to have tried this...

  25. There's nothing tastier than stuffed squash blossoms and yours looks so perfect! I wish I had a good farmers market close by too...

  26. We get them by the hundreds but up until now these squash flowers were thrown away; this summer I am determined to get a hold of them and eat them! Your recipe sounds delicious and unusual with the cherries and garlic scapes; they also look so tempting!

  27. That looks amazing!! Can't believe we still have been to our usual Sat morning haunts, but we have a new foster placement and weekends have been swamped. Making up for it this weekend ... going to hit 4 or 5 markets for sure. Cheers!

  28. May be my squash plants will produce enough blossoms for me to try this recipe.

  29. This sounds so perfect...I must grab some this weekend:)

  30. Squash blossoms are such a treat! So summery. I love your market pictures!

  31. These look so lovely! I have been wanting to get my hands on them as I have seen them appearing in quite a few blogs. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  32. Wow! These are beautiful, Sommer, and the flavors sound incredible. We grow our own squash, but I have just recently learned that I should have been picking and eating the blossoms!

  33. Thanks for this recipe. I usually cook squash blossoms simply, like tempura style or part of a vegetable soup. Thanks for a new take on this one. Will surely try it out!


  34. Sommer, these were delicious! Just made them last night for some friends and we all thought they were great. I'm thinking of using the leftover stuffing today for stuffing zucchinis and adding some toasted pinenuts to the stuffing. Thought the crunch might be good. Thanks for all your wonderful posts!

  35. There is nothing like a fresh market, we go every Saturday morning and that's where 99.99% of our food comes from , we leave with recipes for the ingredients that we bought, the kids are given treats from the vendors its just a great experience. This is one of our fav dishes, except we use ricotta in the stuffing.

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  37. Wish Gone Wrong~ Please don't leave dirty comments on my blog again, this is a "family" site!


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