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Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Tomme des Pyrénées
“Cheese-stuffed zucchini flowers are a traditional specialty of Italy and Provence. This version of the fried vegetarian side dish or appetizer takes on an Occitanie flair with Tomme des Pyrénées, a cheese produced in that southwestern region of France. Thanks to the cheese's rich, slightly tangy flavor, you only need a little bit to highlight this dish.”
6 cups canola oil
12 medium squash blossoms
1 large egg
½ cup fresh cheese, such as fromage frais or ricotta
½ cup packed grated Tomme des Pyrénées or havarti cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup water
1Line a large plate with paper towels. Clip a candy thermometer to a large pot and add oil. Heat to 350°F over medium-high heat.
2Meanwhile, carefully open squash blossoms without tearing the petals and remove the stamen. If stems are attached, trim to 1 inch.
3Whisk egg in a medium bowl. Mix in fresh cheese, Tomme des Pyrénées (or havarti), parsley, salt and pepper. Stuff each squash blossom with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture, closing the petals around the filling.
4Whisk flour and water in another medium bowl until smooth. Dip 6 of the stuffed blossoms in the batter, allowing the excess to drip off. Place in the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate. Return the oil to 350°F. Repeat with the remaining squash blossoms.
5Arrange the squash blossoms on a serving platter. Garnish with parsley and more salt, if desired. Serve immediately.