“Hi,” says an eager 10-year-old boy behind a table of greens—lots of Asian veggies—at the Marblehead Farmers’ Market. “Can I help you?”
I spot the basket of squash blossoms, rubber banded in bouquets and know immediately that I’ll be stuffing them with goat cheese and having them for lunch.
“I’ll take these and any advice you have,” I say to the boy and his grandmother.
“Just dip them in flour and an egg,” the boy says, “and saute them in olive oil. I really like them on pizza.”
“How do you know how to cook squash blossoms at your age?”
“My mom,” he says. “Don’t forget to take out the stamen.”
I like this kid. Like that he knows how to properly cook these blossoms that is not in everyone’s repertoire, especially a 10-year-old’s. I like that he knows the word stamen.
“You thinking of becoming a chef?” I ask.
“Maybe,” he says.
“I think you should,” I say. “I would come to your restaurant.”
I recall from last year’s failed experiment that squash blossoms don’t last. They’re fickle little things. One minute they’re perky, they next they’re wilting. I take them home and plunge them in water and get to work on making a simple mixture of flour, egg (a blue one that makes me ridiculously happy) and a little water. I start with this recipe for inspiration and realize I don’t have seltzer water or cayenne pepper, and crab meat seem too much for these delicate flowers, and I certainly don’t want to use ricotta when I can use goat cheese.
I gently rinse the blossoms, letting the water open them up, dry them, then stuff them with goat cheese. I dredge them in the pancake-like batter and saute them for a few minutes until they brown. I go a little too heavy on the batter—a messy presentation that my 10-year-old friend would not approve of—but they’re crisp and delicious and I eat every last one.