Squash Blossoms

I used to work with a guy that grew up in Italy. Like me, he loved to cook.

I asked him one day — “Alessandro, what’s your favorite thing to make?”, thinking I’d get a pasta dish or a great pizza recipe.

“They’re really hard to find, but when I can get them…squash blossoms. No question”

As it happens, a few weeks later I was in a farmers’ market and saw a nice looking bundle of squash blossoms. Without overthinking it, or finding a recipe, or planning anything out, I grabbed them.

The difficulty with squash blossoms is that you have to use them immediately. Like, same day. We had other dinner plans that night, but this opportunity was too good to pass up — I had never cooked these before myself, and I don’t think I’ve even eaten them in a restaurant.

A quick search found a simple recipe of mint, parmesan, egg. Whisk the filling together, and pack it into a ziplock bag. Cut the corner off, and pipe it into the blossom.

Then, whisk together some flour and some very cold club soda. Give each blossom a quick dip, and then fry in a heavy cast iron pan with 375 degree oil until you get a nice golden brown color.

Dip them into some warm tomato sauce immediately after frying — if you’re not close to burning your mouth, you’re waiting too long. These are best right out of the oil. (Ok, but don’t actually burn yourself).

What really works here is the delicate tips of the flower grab a nice coating of the batter and get super crispy. The creamy minty savory filling works perfectly with the crunch and sauce to deliver an addictive appetizer.

Good call Alessandro!

Cool Ingredient: Romanesco Broccoli

There aren’t a lot of ingredients as visually stunning as Romanesco broccoli. Its shape is a fractal — a self-repeating collection of florets that seem to swirl on, tinier and tinier, forever. I don’t often see it at the store (we get it from time to time in our weekly farm box), but I’m sure if you look hard enough at Whole Foods you’ll see it every once in a while.

The texture is much like cauliflower, but the flavor is unquestionably broccoli. We got a bunch last week, and made veggie pizza with it. Give it a shot next time you want to jazz up traditional broccoli with something a little trippier.


We ended up stumbling upon a winner with the broccoli pizza, so I’ve added the recipe below.



Recipe: Broccoli Veggie Pizza
1 batch of homemade or store-bought pizza dough
1 bunch of Romanesco broccoli (or regular broccoli)
1 container of white button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (torn or cut in pieces), or 1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 canned whole tomatoes, drained (diced or crushed will work too)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
Dash or two of red wine vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper
Additional olive oil for brushing crust


Heat oven and pizza stone as hot as you can get it. Mine goes to 550 degrees or so if I set it to broil.


Combine canned tomatoes, garlic, tablespoon olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until the consistency of sauce. Simmer in saucepan over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until sauce thickens and garlic is fragrant. If you don’t have a food processor, just use crushed tomatoes and dice the garlic up very finely before simmering.


Onions and mushrooms:
Sauté mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until they’ve released most of their liquid. Add a bit more oil and onion slices, sauté everything until caramelized.


Steam for 6-7 minutes until tender but not mushy.


Toss the pizza crust and place on a peel or baking sheet. Lightly brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread cooked sauce on oiled crust. Sprinkle onions and mushrooms and then add pieces of broccoli. Top with mozzarella pieces or shreds.


Cook pizza on stone until crust is golden brown and top is bubbly.