Sometimes you have to stop to smell the flowers....
And sometimes you have to eat them.
It was a beautiful day complete with great food, great friends and great farm markets! I have written before about the beauty of the farmers markets but it really doesn't get old for me. Today was no different. We went to two markets - both equally inspiring, overwhelming and beautiful.
The first time I recall having had squash/zucchini blossoms was at my mother in law's house . Fresh from her garden, I had no idea they were edible. (in hindsight a poisonous flower on an edible vegetable was probably not my brightest assumption) I actually just assumed they were what was required to make a zucchini. Kinda like tomatoes. Nope. Turns out, some vegetables mirror real life. (also turns out if you pick tomato flowers and eat them, you won't get any tomatoes).
Time for a little birds and bees discussion. There are boy zucchinis and girl zucchinis. Just like a woman biologically "needs" the man to have make a baby, a zucchini plant needs the boy flowers to fertilize the girl flowers. (I am having flashes to my birds and the bees discussion I will have to have one day with Little sixtyone45) And alas, just like in real life, after fertilization the boy part is done. (kidding hunney...sorta)
My mother in law picked the flowers and then promptly showed me how to batter and fry them. Dee. Lish. Us. Really. The batter was light but crunchy and the flower is really delicate with just a slight hint of the green squash. For something so delicate, it tasted very rich. Some would argue you batter and deep fry anything and it would taste good, but these had a texture that was delightfully memorable.
Fast forward to today and I happen to have some zucchini blossoms of my own growing. Butttt....I only have two plants and I am not sure if they are done their "business" yet so I have been hesitant to touch them.
I did, however, come across some beautiful blossoms at the market today. As much as I would love to recreate the deep fried goodness ma-in-law served up, it kinda felt like a shame to batter the pretty petals. So I decided to chop them, boil them and puree them instead. Much nicer.
The Squash Blossom soup is a variation of the popular sopa de flor de calabaza (Mexican Soup) but without the heavy cream. It is straight veggies with the kick coming from a roasted poblano pepper. The apple gives it a bit of sweetness without any added sugar although a hint of Agave syrup would probably be nice.
I don't often make soups in the summer but sometimes....
....you have to eat the pretty flowers.
Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash Soup
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ large white onion, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups chicken stock
12 large squash blossoms
1 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
5 – 6 patty pan squash
Parsley or green onion, chopped to garnish
1. In an enameled cast iron pot, heat butter over medium heat. Once foaming, add chopped onion, stirring to coat. Cook until the onions are lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
2. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, coarsely chopped zucchini and patty pan squash, skin on. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add remainder of chicken stock and chopped poblano. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, drop down the heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.
4. While the broth is simmering, prep the squash blossoms. Put two or three aside for final dish. With the remainder, break off the stems, peel off the sepals (the small, wavy leaves that grown from the base), and pluck out the stamen. Discard stems, sepals and stamen. Roughly chop.
5. Add the chopped blossoms to the simmering stock and cook for 3 minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend the mixture until smooth.
6. Continue simmering for 20 minutes, then take the mixture off of the heat. Season to taste with kosher salt.
7. Serve in soup bowls and finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley or green onion and top with a blossom.