Summer Squash & Fennel Salad with Stuffed Squash Blossoms & Freekeh

Summer Squash & Fennel Salad

with Stuffed Squash Blossoms & Freekeh

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

For this uniquely summery salad made with hearty freekeh, we’re cooking squash two ways. First, we’re sautéing summer squash with fennel and onion, to bring out its natural sweetness. Then we’re stuffing delicate squash blossoms (the early flowers of the plant) with a zesty, creamy ricotta filling and lightly frying them for crispy texture. We’re serving the fried, stuffed squash blossoms right on top of the salad, and for a rich, earthy finish, we’re garnishing the dish with sharp Piave cheese and hazelnuts.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Summer Squash & Fennel Salad with Stuffed Squash Blossoms & Freekeh
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the freekeh. Cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the fennel stems; small dice the bulb. Peel and small dice the onion. Cut off and discard the stem end of the squash; medium dice. Using a peeler, remove the lemon rind, avoiding the pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Pick the mint off the stems; finely chop. Remove and discard the stems and stamens of the squash blossoms. Using a fork, crumble the Piave cheese. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the fennel and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the squash has softened. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

Make the filling & stuff the squash blossoms:
4 Make the filling & stuff the squash blossoms:

To make the filling, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and half the mint; season with salt and pepper to taste. Working 1 at a time, fill each squash blossom with about 2 teaspoons of the filling (you will have extra filling). Fold the ends of the petals inward over the filling and lightly press to seal. Transfer to a plate.

Coat & fry the squash blossoms:
5 Coat & fry the squash blossoms:

In a small bowl, combine the rice flour and 3 tablespoons of water to create a batter. In the pan used to cook the vegetables, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once hot enough that a drop of batter sizzles immediately when added to the pan, coat the stuffed squash blossoms in the batter (letting any excess drip off). Carefully add the coated squash blossoms to the pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.

Finish & plate your dish:
6 Finish & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked freekeh and vegetables, add the remaining filling, remaining mint, the juice of all 4 lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dishes. Top each with a fried squash blossom. Garnish with the Piave cheese and hazelnuts. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the freekeh. Cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the fennel stems; small dice the bulb. Peel and small dice the onion. Cut off and discard the stem end of the squash; medium dice. Using a peeler, remove the lemon rind, avoiding the pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Pick the mint off the stems; finely chop. Remove and discard the stems and stamens of the squash blossoms. Using a fork, crumble the Piave cheese. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the fennel and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the squash has softened. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

4 Make the filling & stuff the squash blossoms:

To make the filling, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and half the mint; season with salt and pepper to taste. Working 1 at a time, fill each squash blossom with about 2 teaspoons of the filling (you will have extra filling). Fold the ends of the petals inward over the filling and lightly press to seal. Transfer to a plate.

Make the filling & stuff the squash blossoms:
5 Coat & fry the squash blossoms:

In a small bowl, combine the rice flour and 3 tablespoons of water to create a batter. In the pan used to cook the vegetables, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once hot enough that a drop of batter sizzles immediately when added to the pan, coat the stuffed squash blossoms in the batter (letting any excess drip off). Carefully add the coated squash blossoms to the pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.

6 Finish & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked freekeh and vegetables, add the remaining filling, remaining mint, the juice of all 4 lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dishes. Top each with a fried squash blossom. Garnish with the Piave cheese and hazelnuts. Enjoy!

Finish & plate your dish:
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