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Fried Squash Blossoms with Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette

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Ingredients

Goat Cheese Mousse

¼ cup ricotta cheese

¾ cup cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup goat cheese

¼ teaspoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

½ tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Tempura Batter

2 cups cold sparkling water

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cup rice flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette

1 large red bell pepper, sliced in thick strips

1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced in thick strips

½ red onion, diced small

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

½ cup sherry vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

To Finish

20 squash blossoms, cleaned (use needle-nosed pliers and begin by removing stamen)

1 quart vegetable oil

½ cup corn starch

Aged balsamic to taste

Directions

  1. For goat cheese mousse, in mixing bowl, add ricotta and cream cheese. Mix until well blended. Add goat cheese, garlic, thyme, rosemary, chives, and lemon juice. Add heavy cream and mix on low speed until blended. Increase to high speed until cream is whipped. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For tempura batter, combine all wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Next, add all dry ingredients to same bowl. With a whisk, incorporate well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. For roasted pepper vinaigrette, cook bell peppers over an open burner or on grill until completely charred. Let cool slightly and peel off charred skin. Dice peppers and place in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. To finish dish, fill a pastry bag with room-temperature goat cheese mixture. Insert piping bag into the opening of each blossom and add 1 tablespoon of filling into each blossom. Note: Take care not to pipe too much in or the flowers will burst in the fryer.

Once blossoms are stuffed, preheat oil to 350−375 degrees.

Dust blossoms gently with corn starch. Gently tap and blow away excess starch.

Next, dredge flowers quickly in tempura batter, one at a time, placing into hot oil as you go. Fry blossoms until crispy and a light golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve over roasted pepper vinaigrette and drizzle with a good-quality aged balsamic.

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