Early summer in Sonoma County marks the beginning of summer squash season, one of the most prolific vegetables during this time of year. Like all good stories, it’s one that has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. The first tender baby squash and delicate blossoms that appear in early June bring excitement and anticipation. In the height of midsummer, we find ourselves searching for fresh, innovative ways to use the squash and by the last dog days of the season, it feels as though we might keel over in exhaustion at having to cook and eat any more squash. This recipe is a celebration of those first delectable vegetables that appear in tandem with their subtly flavored blossoms and make for a great appetizer battered, fried, and dipped in a tangy goat cheese sauce.
12 baby squash
12 squash blossoms
1 cup 00 flour
1 cup non-gmo corn starch
500 ml cold sparkling water
2 Tbl. salt
2 quarts high-heat vegetable oil
Goat Cheese Sauce
½ cup fresh goat cheese
½ cup aioli*
¼ cup chopped soft herbs like parsley, tarragon, or chives
Heat oil in a heavy bottom, shallow-sided pot like a Dutch oven on medium-high. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch, and salt. Stirring gently, slowly add sparkling water until the mixture forms a slurry that will coat the back of spoon. Don’t worry about breaking up any clumps of flour that remain, the key to a lacy and light batter is not overworking the batter. Keep mixture cold in refrigerator until ready to use.
Clean squash blossoms by removing stamens from inside the flower. When the oil reaches 375 degrees, gently dip the baby squash and blossoms into batter and place in oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. After 3-5 minutes or when golden brown, remove squash and blossoms and place on a towel-lined plate to drain excess oil, then season generously with salt.
To make the goat cheese sauce, gently whisk fresh goat cheese with aioli and add herbs. You can also drizzle with chili oil if you like a little heat. Enjoy immediately while still piping hot!