Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Good (and Gluten-Free) Recipe

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Good (and Gluten-Free) Recipe

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Remember that famous book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum? I might write a copycat book: "All I Really Need to Cook Comes From Leite's Culinaria." It's my favorite, and most-used, food blog.

This week, David Leite posted a recipe for squash-blossom quesadillas that has only five ingredients and is gluten-free, too. Boy, is it ever good. All you do is heat up corn tortillas in a cast-iron skillet, top with shredded pepper jack cheese, chopped cilantro and a grind of pepper, then layer on a couple of blossoms, fold the tortilla in half and heat until the cheese melts. Crunchy, creamy, colorful and delicious, the dish is fast, easy and sure to please. For a light supper, I'd add a leaf lettuce-and-onion salad and wedges of watermelon.

Squash blossoms are the edible flowers usually plucked from zucchini plants. A friend who grows Hubbard squash has monster, he- man-size blossoms. All squash blossoms are candidates. They're subtle in flavor and in season right now at most farmers markets or in your neighbor's garden. Prep them by removing the stems and stamens and checking for bugs, but do not wash them.

Once you get familiar with them, you'll want to experiment with more ways to feature the blossoms.

Quick-fried Blossoms: Slit the base of the blossom on one side and open the flower flat, then remove the stems and stamens. Heat vegetable oil in a small straight-sided skillet. When it's hot, dip the blossoms into a tempura or flour-water batter. (To cup water in a soup plate, whisk in about ? cup flour to get a batter the consistency of very heavy cream.) Slip dipped blossoms into the hot oil. When they are golden brown, turn over and cook until golden on the other side. Transfer to paper towels, sprinkle on coarse salt and serve hot and crispy. …

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