Squash Blossoms with Lamb & Cucumber Raita
By Jenny Breen
For the Cucumber Raita
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 shallot or 3 green onions, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
- Dill, mint, cilantro or other herbs
- Salt, to taste
For the Squash Blossoms
- 16 squash blossoms, stems trimmed and stamens removed
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 shallot or bunch green onions, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cloves garlic or 2 garlic scapes, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice (1/3 cup cooked in 2 cups water)
- 1/4 cup toasted nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup mint, minced
- 1 cup soft cheese, like ricotta or quark (optional)
- 4 oz ground lamb or other meat, browned and set aside (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To make the raita, mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until serving.
Preheat over to 400° F. Rinse the squash blossoms gently and leave to dry fully in a colander or over clean towels while preparing the stuffing.
In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and add shallot/onion, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. Saute for a few minutes until shallots are translucent (this will happen quickly because of how finely they are chopped.) Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds or so until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add rice and let toast with butter and vegetables, stirring frequently. Fluff with a fork, and add nuts, lemon zest, chopped mint, and salt and pepper to taste. If using ricotta and/or meat, add now.
Carefully, stuff the squash blossoms with the rice mixture using a small spoon or even a melon baller. Don’t overfill – allow the ends of the flower to close. Transfer stuffed squash blossoms to a greased baking sheet and drizzle with a little melted butter. Season with a few pinches of salt, and bake for 15 minutes. The outside should be brown and a bit crispy. Serve warm with cold Cucumber Raita.