Yay Summer! Squash Blossoms

The first time I can remember eating squash blossoms was about five years ago. Chris and I were vacationing in Savannah, Georgia, and had dinner at The Olde Pink House. The flowers were in one of the salad appetizers we chose, and they were lightly fried and stuffed with a creamy filling. I don't remember what else was in the dish, but I do remember those little blossoms of bliss. Yum.

Since then, I've had squash blossoms numerous times. (Whenever I see them on the menu, I get them.) But, I've never made them myself . . . until now!
I saw them during my last grocery run and couldn't pass them up. So, I brought them home and got to work. The packaging said they were already washed, but I gave them a light cleaning anyway. Then, I carefully opened each blossom and used a tiny spoon to stuff them with a mixture of smoked ricotta, Greek yogurt, shredded mozzarella, and minced fresh basil and parsley. (Note: Some fancy folks say you should remove the outer stems and the pistils and stamens from the inside, but they are perfectly edible, so why mess with something already so delicate? I left them as is, and all was perfectly delicious.)
I gently twisted the petals back together into a tight little bundle of goodness. Then, I filled a baking dish with Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika, smoked sea salt, and more herbs. In another dish, I lightly whisked an egg. I rolled each blossom carefully in the egg and then into the coating, until they were all covered.  After the breadcrumb bath, they went onto a greased baking pan and into a 400 degree preheated oven to bake until they were golden brown and crispy (about 10-15 minutes), turning only once.
When they were done, I heated a bowl of homemade pizza sauce for dipping and Chris and I headed out to the patio with the blossoms and a bottle of red wine. The blossoms were crunchy and creamy, salty and smoky. So good! 

Summer rocks.