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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Front Porch Dishes Out the Beer-Battered End of Summer

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 7:00 AM

MOLLY GORE
  • Molly Gore

Summer is ditching us. Dogs are wearing sweaters and the pumpkin spice latte is once again claiming Facebook statuses, but we're not done shaking sand from our hair. For everybody hanging on to summer's coattails, we sought out the last of a seasonal favorite, the squash blossom. These green-veined peachy torpedos are notoriously fragile. Even at their peak they rip like wet rice paper, and have the flitting lifespan of a mayfly.

We like squash blossoms because they don't masquerade as food like other flowers we've seen cross our plates, the ones that taste like your grandmother's purse and rarely hold up beyond the novelty of being a flower on a plate. Squash blossoms are more nutty than floral, are mildly sweet when eaten raw, hold up well to frying, make a lovely soup, and wilt gracefully when sauteed. They taste excellent when stuffed with cheese or battered and crisped under the broiler.

The classic squash blossom is the deep fried squash blossom, and happily for us the Front Porch knows how to make it right. The rustic southern home cookery sits in that nowhereland where The Mission fades to Bernal Heights, and gives squash blossoms the southern homestyle treatment: filled with pimento cheese, beer battered and fried into little golden drumstick balloons, piled on a squiggle of mild roasted red pepper coulis, and finally dusted with micro basil and fleur de sel.

A squash blossom's flavor is overtaken easily by overzealous flavors, but we enjoyed the balance of a slightly bitter batter on flower that's barely sweet, offset by the sharp edge and rounded richness of pimento cheese--a southern favorite made with cheddar, pimentos, and mayo--bringing these blossoms 'round to fully fledged, bona fide, comfort food. Crisp on the outside, giving way to a salty sweet, doughy-soft heart.

For a true send-off to summer, eat them with the Porch's cava cocktail: bubbly cava with St. Germain, peach bitters, and a sugar cube that sits streaming bubbles from the bottom. It's sweet and fruity, but acidic enough to cut through all the greasy goodness of the blossoms. They might be a summer thing, but all battered up like that, we'd eat them all the way through fall if we could. Sadly, they'll be on their way out by the end of September, so get 'em while they're good.

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Molly Gore

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