It's been kind of crazy the last couple of weeks. Taking care of someone special for a week, camera broke, camera got fixed, camera broke again! Bought a new camera, packing for our trip to Europe and purchased an I Pad so I could blog during our trip. WHEW....time to stop and smell the flowers.
Zucchini flowers, growing in our back yard. No more excuses, I need to make them now! Something I have wanted to do for a very long time.
I have learned a lot about these lovely blossoms. Each zucchini plant has male and female blossoms. The male blossoms grow from a stem on the plant and the female blossoms grow on the end of the zucchini. If you pick the male blossoms you cut the end of the stem and then you have an easy way to dip them in the batter. Another lesson....they open early in the morning and close during the day and evening. I went out in the afternoon to pick my beautiful flowers and this is what I found.
Closed blossoms. What the ?!? Well, now that I am a flower child veteran, I can tell you that stuffing and cleaning the closed blossoms is a real pain. It's hard not to tear them, and the bugs hide inside. It took a while but I got them cleaned (bug free) and ready to cook. The males have a stamen inside that is bitter so be sure to pull that out. The females have pistils so pull that off too.
I made the batter, letting it sit for an hour before adding the egg. Carefully stuffed them with some cream cheese, goat cheese, and fresh herbs. I used this mixture of cheese because I already had it in the fridge. Next time I will use ricotta cheese. Then I dipped them in the batter and fried in some olive oil.
I try to avoid fried food, but this was pan fried, not deep fried, so I felt better about that. :)
Oh yum! The batter was light and crispy and the herby melted cheese was delish. I think I like the flowers better than the zucchini itself. I can't wait to try them again with different fillings.
STUFFED ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS
16 zucchini flowers
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 large egg
FOR THE STUFFING:
1 cup cheese, ricotta or cream cheese and goat cheese
3 TBSP. finely chopped herbs (parsley, sage, oregano, basil and thyme)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil for pan frying.
For the batter, mix flour, salt and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside and let stand for 1 hour. Just before dipping the flowers into the batter, whisk in the egg.
For the stuffing, mix together cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper and set aside.
To stuff the flowers, remove the stamen or pistils, carefully open the flowers. Use a dessert spoon to spoon in a small amount of the stuffing into the base of each flower.. Twist the petals so the the stuffing is held inside. Place on a baking sheet.
Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet to high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, dip each flower in the batter and add them to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip the flowers and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes until golden. Repeat until all the flowers have been used, reducing the pan to medium high heat when the pan is very hot so the oil does not burn.
To serve, overlap 4-6 flowers in the center of each plate and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.