I just happened to have been in the right place, at the right time when searching for ingredients for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (shrimp-stuffed zucchini squash blossoms, p 186). Also, with the right person. Neil and I just spent over a week in Nérac which is where I was making this dish where there just happens to be one of my most favourite markets ever (you can read about it in my post from a couple of years ago here).
We did a quick scan of the entire market en route to the café where we enjoyed a pain au chocolat and a cafè crème whilst I went over the list of what we needed to get (because at that market if you don’t have a list, you will totally come away with more produce that you could ever use – it all looks SO beautiful!).
Fortunately, I had the squash blossoms listed there – with a question mark as I wasn’t sure if we would find them but eagle-eyed Mr Neil spotted the last barquette (8 mini-zucchinis complete with blossoms for €3 !). We scooped them up (when it’s the last of anything at the market, the gloves come off – you have to be assertive otherwise you’ll miss out!) along with a few other choice items…
Now, about the recipe. I’ve never worked with squash blossoms before so wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
1. They are very delicate (duh!). Folks with less-than-slender fingers should be warned they are not easy to work with. That would be me.
2. If you are stuffing them, make sure the stuffing is smaller than the length of the blossom. Otherwise it will be difficult to “close” the tops of the petals and, ultimately, fry them neatly. So, that was my case – I had much bigger shrimp than I thought and certainly bigger than the blossoms.
3. I don’t know that they needed to be stuffed with a shrimp. They were nice enough, I just thought it was overkill…
4. The batter, on the other hand, oh my – what a revelation. Tempura batter, made with fizzy water. Wow. I’ll be using that one again.
5. I will make these again, should I see them in a market. But I might just lightly dip them in a tempura batter and eat them “nature“. Sometimes simple is best.
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Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer. While I will be eventually blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me will be by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.
Canadian readers: Win a copy of Molly Wizenberg’s “Delancey” Closes Sunday July 13th 2014 6pm EST. Details here.