Ricotta-Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms

The ultimate summer starter, incredibly beautiful and flavorful.

Ingredients:
12-16 squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup Grana-style cheese, divided
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ cup chilled seltzer water or club soda
¼ cup finely-chopped mint
2 tablespoons each finely-chopped parsley and basil
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Stir together ricotta, egg yolk, herbs, half of the cheese and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2. Carefully open each blossom and fill with about 2-3 rounded teaspoons of the ricotta filling, gently twisting the end of the blossom to enclose. Tip: Use a pastry bag for this! (You may have filling left over.)

3. Whisk together flour, remaining cheese, about ¼ teaspoon salt, and seltzer in a small bowl.

4. Heat ½ inch oil to 375° in a 10-inch heavy skillet. Meanwhile, dip blossoms in the flour batter to thinly coat. Fry coated blossoms, turning once, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining blossoms. (Return oil to 375° between batches.) Season with salt and serve immediately.

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