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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Peak of Summer with Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Peak of Summer with Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Fiori di zucca or zucchini blossoms are a delicacy in Tuscany but with the farmers’ markets heaped with towers of zucchini here in the U.S. it’s easier than you may think to bring this very Italian dish to your own table.

If your favorite market vendor doesn’t sell these sunny, edible flowers, ask her to gather them for you. They are the flower at the end of the plant from which zucchini grows. Better yet, pluck them from your own vegetable garden or that of your best friend.

Be sure to prepare these as soon as possible after they’ve been picked.

Zuke Flower

Blossoms are delicate and won’t last more than a couple of days in your crisper section of the fridge. Look for flowers still on their stems. This indicates that these plants are male and they’ll be larger (insert size matters jokes here if you must) which means more cavity space to fill with creamy ricotta. The flowers should feel firm and velvety without any wilting. They should look bright orangish/yellow and perky. Stems should be moist.

When we landed in Aspen a few weeks ago, we headed directly to the farmers’ market to pick up our fruits and veggies. With only 40 minutes until closing, the pickins’ were slim.

zucchini flowers

Okagawa Farm had a few piles of zucchini blossoms left after a busy market day. “I’ll sell you all of these for $5.00, ” Jenna said “but you need to sauté or fry them within a day or they’ll be droopy and past their prime.” I turned to E. and K. with that imploring look of “are you in this with me?” and they nodded.

stuffed and breaded

Cooking in a vacation home means making compromises and getting creative. Not wanting to buy a 5 pound bag of flour for our batter, we made breadcrumbs from a leftover baguette. We purchased a soft mild queso fresco at the market instead of making a second stop in search of good ricotta.  My pics show these stuffed blossoms with a squeeze of lime as the slightly salty cheese begged for some citrus.

finished

I suggest you go the traditional route and buy the best ricotta cheese you can find. Mild and sweet ricotta is really the best partner with the floral undertone in the blossoms. The beer and flour batter will coat these velvety blossoms with the perfect light and even crust.

While our blossoms were indeed, delicious, try the recipe below. You’ll love the way the warm creamy ricotta oozes out of the folds of these crisp orange fiori.

And best of all, you’ll save yourself airfare to Firenze. Go ahead- Eat your veggies from tip to tail! 

2 Comments

    • I agree! There is a particular allure to these floral beauties. If taking the time to stuff them seems like too much work ( even if it IS well worth it), a light batter and a toss in the pan is a great option.

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