I am so excited to be making Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with blossoms from my own garden! The garden babies are no longer babes, but full grown and pumping out those big orangy-yellow beauties. As you can see in the photo above, the colors are stunning and the engineering of the curves is amazing. I only used the male flowers which are on thin stems, and not the female flowers which are on the ends of the baby zucchini.
Of one thing I am certain, battered, fried zucchini flowers are not pretty. I looked at many photos of them and not one was photogenic. Just the nature of the animal, I guess. They all went from beautiful blooms to brown, lumpy, shapeless things. But their redeeming quality is that with a great filling like mine, along with fantastic tomato sauce, this is one really tasty dish.
The classic filling for zucchini flowers seems to be a mixture of ricotta and herbs, frequently mint, maybe with some parmesan mixed in. That was a little bland for my taste, so I decided to use a filling that I have previously used rolled up inside baked slices of eggplant, also along with marinara. I was very happy with the result. My filling is a mixture of mozzarella, parmesan, garlic and minced Italian parsley, bound together with a little egg and bread crumbs. These are substantial enough that you can eat several as an entrée, or one or two as an appetizer. I hope your zucchini plants are making lots of flowers so you can try this recipe! Bon Appetit.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
- Zucchini flowers
- Cheese filling
- Tomato Sauce
20 very fresh male zucchini blossoms, with 1 inch of stem
Peanut oil for frying
1. Holding stem, run flowers under a drizzle of water to remove any dirt and debris. Wrap in dry paper towel to soak up water. Carefully open flowers and remove stamen. I used a scissor. Wrap in wet paper towel and place in large plastic zip bag. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.
For the filling:
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs, I used plain Progresso
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup minced Italian parsley
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
½ cup, less 2 tablespoons, grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in egg and season with salt and pepper.
For the batter:
2 ounces all-purpose flour, about ½ cup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup cold Club Soda or carbonated water, approx
3 egg whites
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add olive oil and mix with a fork until it looks like cornmeal. Add water slowly, changing to a whisk when mixture becomes liquid enough.
2. In a separate clean bowl, beat egg whites until they are stiff and glossy. I used my electric hand-held. Fold egg whites into batter. Refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk occasionally as liquid may settle.
To fill blossoms:
1. Using a small ice cream scoop, a spoon, or your fingers, fill blossoms with about 1 tablespoon filling. But not too full as it may come out during cooking. For the flowers that are open, gather the petals in a flat stack and put a toothpick through them, in and out. Note: the closed flowers twist counter clockwise.
2. Pour peanut oil in a deep pan, deep enough to cover flowers. Heat to 350 degrees F. Drop a little batter in oil and if it bubbles and cooks quickly the oil is ready.
3. Dip a zucchini blossom in the batter up to the stem, which is battered, but not eaten and is used for the handle. Remove toothpick after dipping in batter.
4. Place battered flower in oil and cook, turning, until golden brown all over. Cook a few at a time so they are not crowded. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs to paper towel-covered plate.
5. On serving plate, place browned blossoms on a pool of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a little minced parsley, if desired. Serve.
Tomato Pasta Sauce ala Mario Batali
Makes 8 cups
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
½ medium carrot, finely grated
2 – 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Stir periodically.
2. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Watch carefully and keep stirring.
3. Place a strainer over the Dutch oven and empty one can of tomatoes into it. Pick up each tomato and squeeze the juice into the strainer, then squeeze and mash tomato with your hands, adding it to the onions in the pot. Continue with all tomatoes and juice in both cans. Hit the strainer on lip of pot to get all juice from the bottom. Discard seeds in strainer.
Note: Some of the tomatoes may have a hard green core, which should be removed and discarded.
4. Stir the pot contents together and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir often. Crush tomatoes in pot with a wooden spoon until as thick as cooked cereal. Season with salt to taste. Serve.
Note: Refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for 6 months.