Our summer flowers are blooming early and so we have filled the house with hydrangeas of every shade. But I have found a better use for the daylilies – dinner. As their name implies, daylilies only last a day, so eating them is not a great loss. Plus, they were delicious!
Basically, this recipe is a play on fried squash blossoms which you may also have too many of and want to use in this recipe. I have been told that most vine plants like squash and melons make the best fruit when you pull off at least a third of the flowers to put more energy toward fruit growth versus flower production. Did I say these were great? It is a much more rewarding way to use flowers than nasturtiums in your salad or violets in your tea or to decorate your goat cheese. Not that there is anything wrong with those
ideas. This recipe allows you to try tempura batter if you haven’t made it before. You can also make this recipe by just filling the flowers with herbed goat cheese, but I prefer the taste of pumpkin or sweet potato stuffing which also has fewer calories. Both taste about the same but you have to work harder to press all the water out of the pumpkin to keep it from getting soggy.
Stuffed and Fried Day Lilies
One 10 ounce container of Philly Cheese Italian Cheese and Herb Cheese Cream
One sweet potato, roasted in the oven, peeled and mashed (or roasted pumpkin)
16 daylily blooms
6 cups vegetable oil
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 c. chilled sparkling water
small basil leaves
Stir together cheese, sweet potato, and chopped basil to taste. Place in fridge until ready. Pull the stamens out of the flowers. You must be careful here because I tended to pull off a petal when doing this. You can still stuff with one missing petal per flower. Wash each flower well and sit out to dry. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of filling into each blossom and twist ends of petals gently to close. Chill, covered, until ready to fry.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a 3-quart saucepan to 350°F on thermometer. Set a bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, then whisk together flour and salt in smaller bowl. Then whisk in sparkling water until combined well. Working in batches, coat blossoms in batter, lifting each out by its stem and letting excess drip off, then fry, turning, until batter is crisp, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer blossoms as fried with a slotted spoon to paper towels, drain, and season with salt. Top with more basil.