Monday, January 3, 2011

Meatless Monday: Panko-Crusted Squash Blossoms with Feta and Pine Nuts

Panko-Crusted Squash Blossoms with Feta and Pine Nuts
Everything tastes better when it's panko-crusted, don't you think?

Panko are Japanese style breadcrumbs that have a crisper, airier texture than most Western style breadcrumbs. I prefer them to traditional breadcrumbs and always keep my cupboard stocked with a bag. While they used to be available only at specialty Asian grocers, they're become more widely accessible over the last few years. Even Trader Joe's sells them now.

Lately, I've stumbled upon a local purveyor at my farmers market who sells fabulous squash blossoms with the tiny, baby zucchinis still attached. We all have our comfort foods, and these squash blossoms have got to be mine. I stuff them with feta cheese (also from my farmers market), pine nuts, and thyme. Then I coat them with panko and fry them up in my cast iron skillet.

I love serving them as an appetizer or side dish. While they're stuffed with feta and crusted, they still taste light and fresh. I could eat twenty of them!

Panko-Crusted Squash Blossoms with Feta and Pine Nuts
Serves 3-4 people
Cooking time: about twenty minutes
Print Recipe  

about 12 squash blossoms (ideally with zucchini still attached)
1 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
salt and pepper

To make the filling, mix together the feta, pine nuts, and thyme. Add a little water as needed to soften up the mixture to achieve smoother texture (about 1-2 tablespoons). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To stuff the squash blossoms, gently peel open the blossom of each one and remove the pistol. Using a spoon, stuff the blossom with the filling. Gently twist the end of the blossom together. Repeat with each blossom.

Next, heat the grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs. Place the flour in a bowl and the panko in another bowl. To bread the squash blossoms, dip them one at a time in the flour and shake off any excess. Then coat them in the egg mixture, also shaking off excess. Finally, coat them with panko.

Place the squash blossoms in the skillet and quickly fry, turning them to cook all sides, about three minutes. They will be finished when they're golden brown and tender. Remove from skillet and allow them to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
squash blossoms, feta cheese, organic eggs, and fresh thyme from West Hollywood Farmers Market

panko breadcrumbs, all purpose flour, grapeseed oil, and pine nuts from Trader Joe's

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