My former farmer's market in Sunnyside was a tiny treasure-trove of wonders. Less than a block long, they still managed to have everything we wanted and then some, and on any given week Tim and I left the small cluster of stalls with a bulging bag of produce, jars and loaves. 

Every few weeks, some new, breathlessly anticipated seasonal item would show up....it was pretty common to see me jumping up and down, tugging on sleeves and whisper-shouting, 'Look, sour cherries! Ramps! Golden beets! Look, the first peaches of the summer! LOOK, OH MY GOD, THE GRAPE TOMATOES ARE OUT!!' But the arrival that got me most excited, the most ephemeral and waited-for summertime treat....was the appearance in July of fat, golden, tubular zucchini blossoms.

Delicate and tender*, tasting similar to zucchini and very faintly sweet, these are possibly the closest you can come to capturing sunshine on a plate. These particular zucchini blossoms begged to be stuffed with lightly sweetened goat cheese and covered in a cracklingly crisp, tempura-like outer shell. 'Take us home,' they whispered to me, 'take us home and fill us up with goat cheese, dip us in a cozy bath of batter, give us a quick dunk in sizzling hot oil and drizzle us with honey, oh yesssss. We will be deliciousssss.' 

Who am I to argue with flowers?

[ *Not to mention desperately perishable, these are a 'cook them the same day you buy them' item for sure. For that reason, you'll never see them in a conventional grocery store, but have to track them down at a farmer's market or a friend's garden instead, which explains my overzealous excitement at seeing these golden lovelies arrive for the season. Well, that and the fact that I just really love any opportunity to eat flowers. ]

Sweet Zucchini Blossom Goat Cheese Fritters

Makes 6

3 ounces soft goat cheese 
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp honey (plus more for drizzling)
6 zucchini blossoms, lightly rinsed and patted dry 
vegetable oil for frying 
1/2 cup rice flour 
1/2 cup seltzer

In a small mixing bowl, combine goat cheese, lemon zest and honey, smushing together with the back of a spoon until you form a uniform paste.

Very gently place 1 tablespoon of this goat cheese mixture into the center of each blossom, being careful not to tear the petals. Coat skillet with about 1 inch of oil and place over medium-high heat (pan is hot enough when the oil begins shimmering and a few drops of batter flicked into it begin sizzling right away).

While you are waiting for your oil to heat up, whisk together flour and seltzer until a thin, smooth batter forms. The carbonation in the seltzer gives the batter a certain airy....je ne sais quois. I don't know. It's bubbly magic.

Once the pan of oil is hot, lightly dredge the stuffed zucchini blossoms in the batter. Allow any excess to drip off and then place (Care. Full. Ly.) in pan and fry until golden brown, about a minute or two on each side. If necessary, do this in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, let cool slightly then drizzle with honey and serve. You're probably going to get honey all over your face while enjoying these. Just go with it.