Blossoms from any summer squash – zucchini, patty pan, yellow crookneck – are deliciously edible, with a sweetly herbaceous flavor. Harvest them just after the sunny yellow blooms pop open and use the blossoms in this summery pasta dish or dip them in batter and shallow-fry.

SQUASH BLOSSOM PASTA WITH SUMMER BEANS

Skinny beans mimic the pasta shape and complement the vegetal flavor of the squash blossoms. If they are fatter than about ¼-inch, slice the beans in half lengthwise. Herbs add dimension, lemon adds brightness, and Pecorino contributes its salty richness to a dish that is the essence of summer garden. To complete the meal, serve a tomato salad and a basket of seeded Italian bread.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons butter, softened

8 to 10 squash blossoms, coarsely chopped, plus a couple of blossoms for garnish

10 ounces spaghetti or bucatini

A large handful of thin green beans, trimmed (about 8 ounces)

A small handful of thin yellow wax beans, trimmed (about 6 ounces)

1/3 cup chopped scallions

¼ cup torn basil leaves

3 tablespoons shredded or grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine butter and chopped squash blossoms. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 6 minutes. Add beans and cook until pasta and beans are al dente, about 3 more minutes. Scoop out and reserve 1½ cups of pasta cooking water.

Drain pasta and beans, return to warm pot, and add blossom butter, scallions, basil, cheese, lemon zest and juice, stirring until butter melts. Add most of reserved pasta water and stir again until most is absorbed, adding more if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to plates or serving bowl, garnish with squash blossoms, and serve. Pass more grated cheese at the table.

BLOSSOMS FRIED IN HERBED BATTER

I don’t deep-fry much at home any more, but every now and then I need to make an exception. These delicate fritters – which are “shallow-fried” in less than the usual amount of oil – are a once-a-season treat.

Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres

12 squash blossoms

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup water, or a bit more if necessary

1 tablespoon minced fresh herb – basil, thyme, chives, or sage

Vegetable oil for frying

Sea salt for sprinkling

Rinse blossoms, inspect to remove any insects, and set upside down, umbrella-like, on paper towels to drain.

In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Whisk in water and minced herb to make a batter. Set aside while preparing to cook.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet to 350 degrees. (A drop of batter will sizzle when oil is ready.) Check batter. It should be consistency of thick cream; if too thick, add a tablespoon or so more water.

Dip blossoms in batter, letting excess drip off, and fry in hot oil, 3 or 4 at a time, turning once, until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve. Eat with fingers.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny