My favorite thing about growing veggies or shopping at a farmers market is getting that legitimate thrill of the once-a-year-treat. Once a year events fill us with nostalgia giving us a way to mark the seasons and measure our life’s journey.
Shopping at a grocery store does not give you this feeling. One trip is much like the next, and the store, even the produce department, rarely reflect seasonal changes. Like the agricultural equivalent to Jimmy Buffet’s excuse, “It’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere,” everything is available all the time. “It’s grapefruit season somewhere.”
But some veggies because of their delicacy or perhaps limited demand, have escaped this industrialized fate. Squash blossoms are one such item. When I see them at the market, their cheerful yellow petals call to me, and I buy them even if they weren’t on the list.
The first time I did this, I brought them home and began researching how to cook them. Mexican and Latin American dishes often call for stuffing and/or batter dipping and frying. Not my style–too labor intensive, too time-consuming, to messy, and just too much hullaballoo for a single meal.
Enter squash blossom soup. A few ingredients, a few minutes and you have a simple but decidedly delectable soup the color of sunshine.
- 3 T butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 t salt
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 8 - 10 oz. squash blossoms, cleaned with stamens removed*
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ t white pepper
- ½ cup half and half (optional)
- Garnish: chopped chives or a grated hard cheese like Mexican cotija or Italian Parmesan.
- In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add chopped onion and salt and sweat the onions being careful not to brown them—about 5 minutes.
- Once transparent, add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Add stock, pepper and blossoms. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes covered.
- Add half and half and cook another 1 minute. Remove from heat. Blend thoroughly with an immersion blender. Garnish and serve hot.
Preserve It: Impossible to store. Eat it now.
Cooking with Kids: Have the kids do the prep work. My kids always want to fuss with flowers, and they also like to take things apart out of curiousity. Let them go to town on the blossoms. Make sure that you share the information about the bitter stamens. Even have them taste them raw comparing the bitter stamen to the mild, pleasant flavor of the petal.