July is just around the corner which means it is once again zucchini time. Our orto (vegetable garden) is flourishing this year, and our zucchini plants have been producing lots of zucchini. Although I do enjoy cooking with zucchini, I am particularly fond of the zucchini flowers, or squash blossoms. Since there are just two of us at home now, we probably overestimated our zucchini needs, and I have a feeling that we will find the eight zucchini plants in our garden are going to produce more than we can reasonably use. My husband picks the blossoms for me each morning when he waters the garden, and just this morning he brought me nineteen new flowers! I have been harvesting so many zucchini flowers that I have started using them in egg dishes, pasta sauces, and just this week made a zucchini and zucchini flower risotto. I have also stuffed the flowers with various cheeses and herbs and have fried or baked them. As much as I adore fried zucchini flowers, I am trying to avoid fried foods as much as I can, so I have found baking them to be a great alternative. I stuff my flowers with a blend of ricotta and pecorino cheese and chopped herbs, then bread them and bake them. The exterior of the flower becomes golden brown and crispy while the filling is creamy smooth. I love the flowers simply topped with a sprinkling of sea salt, but also often serve them with a fresh tomato relish or my Quick Tomato Sauce. I have kept my filling simple in this recipe using just the two types of cheese, herbs, and seasonings, but you could also vary this recipe by adding some chopped anchovies or black olives.
These flowers require little preparation before use. Simply carefully remove the stamen from the center and wipe with a damp paper towel. I have found that freshly picked flowers with stay fresh wrapped in damp paper towels stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can pipe the filling into the flowers if you prefer, but I find it easy to simply use a small spoon and then push the filling down with my fingers. Do not worry if the flower tears since the breaded coating will keep the filling enclosed while it bakes.
Our very healthy zucchini plants!
Perfect squash blossom for stuffing.
One day’s squash blossom harvest.
Other Zucchini Flower Recipes
Deborah Mele 2015
- 12 Medium To Large Zucchini Flowers
- 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 Medium Eggs Beaten With 2 Tablespoons Milk
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Breadcrumbs
- Sea Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil For Baking
- 1 Cup Quick Tomato Sauce or
- Lemon Wedges
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta and pecorino cheese along with the chopped basil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Use a small spoon to fill each flower with the ricotta mixture, pushing the filling down towards the stem end.
- Gently twist the flower at the end to enclose the filling.
- Continue to fill all of the flowers.
- Place the egg mixture in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in another.
- Season the crumbs with salt and pepper.
- Lightly oil an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.
- Dip each of the flowers first in the egg mixture, then the crumbs.
- Place the breaded flowers evenly spaced on the baking sheet, then lightly spray the flower tops with olive oil spray (optional).
- Bake the flowers for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Place on a platter, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve with tomato sauce, relish, or lemon wedges.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 flowers
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 946mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 10gSugar: 17gProtein: 26g