This dish is really simple and is a great way to use up the zucchini flowers growing in your garden. They are quite delicate and once picked they really need to be used within a day or two. I love them dipped into a light batter and deep fried until crispy with just a sprinkling of sea salt, or stuffed with a creamy ricotta filling as in this recipe. Although I did pan fry these stuffed zucchini, I have made them exactly the same way substituting breadcrumbs for the flour and baking them. Simply use a little oil spray before you bake them.
The female flower is the blossom on the end of each baby zucchini, while the male flower grows directly on the stem of the zucchini plant on a long stalk. Both flowers are edible, but if I am picking the zucchini flowers from my own garden, I use only the flowers that grow on the male stalks as I prefer letting the actual zucchini grow. You can enjoy the stuffed zucchini simply stuffed without any sauce or condiment, although I like to serve them on a little scoop of lightly cooked tomato sauce. I leave the stems on them but they can be removed if you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1 Egg
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
- 4 Fresh Basil Leaves, Minced
- Salt & Pepper
- 18 Large Zucchini Blossoms
- 3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 Cup Oil For Frying
- 1 to 1 1/2 Cups Quick Tomato Sauce
- Mix together the ricotta, egg, grated cheese, and basil, then season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the stamens from the flower and gently open.
- Use either a small spoon or a pastry bag and fill each blossom with a tablespoon or so of filling.
- Gently pinch the end of the flower closed and twist slightly.
- Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water until frothy.
- Dip the flowers first in the egg, and then into the flour turning them to lightly coat all sides.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and once hot fry the zucchini flowers for a couple of minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. (Do not overcrowd the zucchini in the pan.)
- Place cooked flowers on a paper towel lined plate and continue to cook the rest of zucchini flowers.
- To serve, first spoon the sauce into the center of a plate and fan the zucchini flowers on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 3 flowers
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399 Total Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 20g Cholesterol: 79mg Sodium: 564mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9g Protein: 15g