The squash plants in our garden have finally begun to flower. Aside from their cheery beauty, the golden blossoms are completely edible. I’ve seen them stuffed with ricotta or goat cheese, like these beauties from Broad Appetite and Chocolate Moosey, deep fried like this recipe from eCurry, or even as ingredient in ice cream.
My inspiration for this recipe, though, was seeing them used as a topping for flat bread pizza in this post by What’s Gaby Cooking. It got me thinking about using squash blossoms in pajun, a savory Korean pancake that’s not so different from flatbread.
I lived in small village in South Korea for a couple of years, and I met my husband there. We got married at the American embassy in Seoul, convincing a kid in riot gear to put down his shield for long enough to take our picture. We took advantage of our time in Korea by heading into every little no-name soup and noodle joint we could find, hitting up street vendors for sweet and spicy dumplings or burgers served with a fried egg and kimchi on top, and by the time we left I had eaten so much red pepper powder you probably could have smelled it on my skin.
Pajun is traditionally made with flat, Asian-style green onions. In this version, I use garlic scapes – another treat from my Lancaster Farm Fresh box last week – and squash blossoms. The flowers make something that already tastes really good into something really beautiful to serve, definitely special enough for a formal brunch.
As it turns out, I didn’t have enough blooms from our garden to make this recipe so I ended up buying them at Sunday’s Baltimore Farmer’s Market and Bazaar. If you have a bigger garden with lots of plants, try picking your own blossoms. Female blooms eventually become squash, so you’ll need to pick only the male ones. Here’s how to tell the difference, courtesy of Gardening Know How.
A couple of other notes about this recipe: I use a 6-inch diameter egg pan because it makes the pancakes so much easier to flip over successfully (you especially want these to stay intact so you can see the shape of the squash blossoms when they’re done). Be careful not to pour the batter into the pan too thick, though – 1/4 inch should do it. Anything more will prevent the pancake from crisping and you’ll end up with a soggy, doughy disappointment.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 red peppers or jalapeños (diced and de-seeded)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 cups garlic scapes, sliced thin
- 2 eggs (beaten) - For a vegan version, leave out the egg.
- 8 squash blossoms, cut in half vertically (you need a total of 16 halves)
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce. Set aside.
- In larger bowl, whisk together the the flour, salt, and cold water until smooth.
- Beat the eggs (if you're using them) and set them aside for later.
- Coat the egg pan with cooking spray and heat the pan on medium.
- Pour the batter into the pan - it should be about ¼ inch thick.
- After about 1 minute, the batter will begin to bubble. When this happens, delicately press the four of the squash blossom halves into the batter, as pictured above.
- Sprinkle the pancake with the sliced garlic scapes.
- Pour ¼ of the egg over the pancakes, tilting the pan to coax the egg away from the edges of the pan and back onto the pancake.
- After another 2 minutes or so, the pancake will be solid enough to flip. Check it first by lifting the edges with a spatula to ensure the bottom is brown throughout.
- Flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes or so, or until the second side is brown.
- You're done cooking your first pancake. Repeat the process three more times!
- Cut each pancake into 6 slices. Serve with dipping sauce and chopsticks.