Saturday, June 23, 2018

Recipe of the Month: Eggs with Squash Blossoms

My Recipe of the Month for June is a little unusual. Normally, I feature two types of dishes: recipes that I found somewhere and Brian prepared, and recipes that Brian made up all by himself. But this month's recipe was my own work from start to finish. I came up with the idea, found the recipe, harvested the ingredients, prepared it, and cooked it. Though not exactly in that order.

See, Brian is off to Chicago this weekend for a seminar, leaving me on my own for dinner. I had no particularly good ideas, so early this evening, I found myself wandering through the garden, looking for some veggies I could cook. However, aside from lettuce—which I deemed not enough to make a meal of—the pickings were kind of slim. The arugula, as predicted, had bolted; the snap peas were recently picked clean; the peppers weren't ripe yet; and the few squash on the zucchini plants were too small to do much with. However, I did notice that there were several large, yellow blossoms on the plants that looked ripe for the picking; in fact, two had already fallen off, and another came off in my hand when I went to examine it. I remembered reading before that squash blossoms are edible—indeed, they're considered a bit of a delicacy—so I figured maybe I could do something with those and get a Recipe of the Month out of it at the same time.

So I carefully gathered up the blossoms, carried them inside, and went hunting for some ideas for what to do with them. How to Cook Everything, failing to live up to its name, had nothing to say on the subject, so I turned to the Internet. The first few ideas I came across there—fried squash blossoms, squash blossom pesto, pasta with zucchini blossom sauce—all called for a much larger volume of squash blossoms than the three I had, and looked far too complicated for a simple meal for one. But eventually I tracked down a page that suggested serving them in an omelet or, simpler still, in a dish of scrambled eggs with some fresh herbs. I was pretty sure I could handle that.

So I headed back outside and started gathering a few more ingredients. Following the suggestion of this recipe, I picked a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley and some sage leaves to stir into the eggs. I also gathered some lettuce for a side salad.

Then I started cooking. Since I had little to no idea what I was doing, this was more or less in full freestyle mode. I prepared the salad first (using a variation of my Rosy Summer Salad recipe) so I'd have everything ready when the eggs were done and could eat them while they were hot. Then I chopped up the herbs, tore the squash blossoms in half, minced a good-sized clove of garlic, and heated some oil in the big cast-iron pan. I sautéed the garlic in that for just a minute or so, then threw in the squash blossoms and let them cook until they were wilted. Then in went the eggs, with the herbs sprinkled on top, and I just stirred everything together and let it cook until it looked reasonably solid. I threw it on a plate with some leftover oven-browned potatoes, set the salad on the side, and called it dinner.

The finished product wasn't exactly pretty to look at, but it was perfectly edible. To be honest, I can't  say that the flavor of the squash blossoms seemed to add that much to it; perhaps it was overwhelmed by the stronger flavors of the herbs and garlic. But the combination of eggs, herbs, and garlic tasted just fine, and there was a certain relish in the idea that I was cooking with fancy ingredients even if they didn't taste like much. And as always, it was satisfying to know that all the produce (barring the potatoes) had all come out of our own little garden.

So would I make this dish again? Well, maybe if I were on my own for dinner under similar circumstances, I might. But if what I really wanted to do was make something that featured squash blossoms, I think I'd look for a different recipe that could highlight their delicate flavor a little better than this one. Still, given that I'm so used to having Brian do all the cooking, just being able to prepare a decent meal on my own was enough to give me a sense of accomplishment.
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