I have been thinking about squash blossoms lately, (I know, what can I say), and when I saw this bunch at the farmer’s market, I scooped them up.
I love squash blossoms stuffed and fried as an appetizer but I had all these other seasonal lovelies in my basket and it seemed like they could all work together for a simple summer meal.
Recipes are a great source of inspiration and, in cooking school, we spoke of ingredient or market driven versus technique driven cooking. It’s certainly important to learn technique, but in the summer with the season’s bounty, I’m a believer in ingredient driven food. In this case, there did not need to be a recipe, just the palate of beautiful produce before me.
These summer ingredients are the perfect opportunity to cook without a recipe. Let the market inspire you.
The blossoms were the first source of inspiration and the vendor had superb squash and some cherry tomatoes as well. There were young purple onions, just bulbing - let’s add those in. There was no corn at the market, it’s a little early, but I had an ear at home in my fridge as well as some goat cheese remaining after using the first half of the log for a watermelon salad. McEvoy Ranch Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sea salt and Aleppo pepper round out the ingredients and we are good to go. Fresh herbs would be delightful here a well.
Sheet pan dinners are very much on trend. I suspect a lot of people have been doing those for a long time but there are some good new ideas. The first thing to think about is that everything needs to be cut so that it cooks in the same amount of time. The other way to deal with that issue is to add things in later that take less time to cook. For me, the joy of a sheet pan meal is to put it all in together - pour a glass of wine and before you know it, dinner is ready. That is what this simple meal provides.
Preheat your oven to 400F - don’t worry, the pan only stays in for 15 minutes!
First, rinse the blossoms and look inside for bugs. Those interiors are a great place to hide. While you are in there, remove the stamen. Then trim the little whiskers on the outside of the petals (sepals) - they are prickly on the tongue.
Let the blossoms air dry and then fill them with some soft fresh goat cheese and close them back up.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and toss with a little salt and olive oil. Rinse the zucchini and cut both ends off. Using a mandoline, v-slicer or a peeler, cut ribbons of the zucchini. Shuck the corn and cut off the kernels. Clean the little red onions and slice into rounds.
Place the stuffed blossoms on the sheet pan, spreading them out evenly. Add the cherry tomatoes and corn and lay the zucchini slices evenly around the pan. Sprinkle on the onion slices. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and Aleppo pepper.
It will look like this:
Bake for 15 minutes and it will look like this:
Turn off that oven! Summer - right?
Enjoy this warm or at room temperature. It is a great side dish or a very satisfying main with a loaf of good bread and - more good olive oil!