Grilled Cheese with Parsley Pesto and Fried Mozzarella Squash Blossom Dumplings

I’ve been frying squash blossoms stuffed with my home made mozzarella pretty frequently these days. All my cravings are justified in one bite: fresh edible summer flowers, golden fried batter, and oozing cheesy goodness. These dumplings are for the lovers of all fried things who are looking for a vegetal kick. The dumplings are great on their own, but are a textural wonderland inside this grilled cheese sandwich.

Ever wonder what to do with that excessive amount of parsley left over from a recipe that only called for a tablespoon as garnish? Parsley Pesto is a perfect way to please your palate and your pantry. Can you tell I’m a fan of alliteration and personification? In all seriousness, piquant parsley pesto has an amazing shelf life that far outlives your average basil pesto. It has been sitting green and vibrant in my fridge for the past three weeks.

I’ve first inserted the recipes for both of these creations, and lastly have woven them all together into the beautiful monstrosity that is the title of this post. Enjoy them separately and apart.

 

Parsley Pesto Recipe

Yields 2.5 cups

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups packed, stemmed Italian Parsley
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmiggiano will do, too)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Place the garlic, parsley, cheese, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Blend until it forms a thick paste.  Gradually add olive oil to food processor in a slow trickle. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Squash blossoms

Stuffing squash blossoms with mozzarella

Squash blossoms in batter

 

Fried Mozzarella Squash Blossom Dumplings Recipe

  • 6 fresh squash blossoms, stems trimmed
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 oz all purpose flower
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sparkling water (or beer!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Carefully wash the squash blossoms, drain and gently dry them using paper towels. Some recipes recommend removing the pistil, but I enjoy that little bit of inner sweetness from the blossom, so I keep the pistil in. Delicately peel open each squash blossom and stuff with one cube of mozzarella.

Prepare the batter by whisking the flour, egg, sparkling water, and salt until smooth. Now it is time to dip the dumplings in the batter!

Lay them all to rest on a plate, and prepare your fry oil.

I add a 1/4 inch height of olive oil to a skillet and wait until it is crackling, smoking hot. The oil heats up quickly at this quantity, and it doesn’t take much to brown the blossoms on all sides.  Be sure to have a pair of tongs handy to flip the blossoms when browned on one side. Each side takes approximately 1 minute.

Lay the fried blossoms to rest on a paper towel to soak up the extra oil.

Grilled cheese with pesto and fried squash blossoms, assembled

Grilled Cheese Recipe

Yields 1 large grilled cheese

  • 2 Tablespoons parsley pesto
  • 6 fried mozzarella squash blossom dumplings
  • 2 slices of sourdough or whole wheat bread
  • 1.5 Tablespoons butter

Slather 1 Tablespoon of parsley pesto on one side of each slice of bread.  Lay the fried squash blossoms side by side on one piece of parsley pesto slathered bread.  Lay the other piece of bread on top, sandwiching the squash blossoms with the pesto.

Heat 1 Tablespoon butter in a cast iron skillet.  Allow the butter to turn golden.  Place entire sandwich in the skillet. Place little pats of butter (approximately 0.5 T total) on the top of the sandwich bread.  This will ensure that both sides become buttery AND crispy.  Put a lid on the skillet while it browns the one side of the sandwich.  This allows the sandwich to steam and heat the inside ingredients. The browning should only take 1 or 2 minutes, then the sandwich is ready to be flipped. Place the lid back on the skillet. After another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side, the grilled cheese is ready!!


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