I have been reading about zucchini blossoms in my latest foodie book: A Thousand Days in Tuscany (see page 28 for recipe). So when I went to a nearby Farmers Market this morning, I was taken in by the seductive blossoms, begging an opportunity to be introduced to my kitchen. I am learning that if there is a new version of plum or fish or flower the best way to experiment with them is to start small. I bought one golden plum the other day, and today just 8 squash blossoms that cost me $2. Translation: low budget entertainment and/or small investment for a potential flop in the kitchen. Equally as entertaining is asking the expert: The Farmer peddling their wares from behind the scales and piles of cucumbers and beets and blossoms. They have great ideas and welcome the venturing newbie. I asked The Farmer to help me select a few blossoms, she recommended firm floweres that are open. Another vendor told me that the male flower is without a zucchini attached and the female flower does have a zucchini (who knew?). "How would you cook it?" I ask, tempting her to betray her kitchen secrets.
Their combination of suggestions were fill with soft cheese, bread or batter and fry in oil. I hopped online and found a recipe from Marcella Hazan, one of my favorite italian chefs, who also recommended a battered blossom experience. But alas I didn't have time to indulge in the fry method, as I was aiming for dinner in 20 minutes. So instead I came up with this:
Zucchini Blossoms Zucchini blossoms Olive oil Kosher or coarse salt Goat cheese Fresh herbs (I used basil and italian parsley) Strips of Prosciutto (optional)
Heat oven to 400. Mash goat cheese with herbs, I used approximately 2 tsp goat cheese (spoonful) and 1 tsp fresh herbs for every blossom. Place cheese mix inside blossom (remove pistils). Lube in olive oil and coarse salt, about 2 T oil and a pinch of salt for every 4 blossoms. Wrap blossom in bacon or prosciutto (optional). Place coziliy in pan, bake for 15 minutes. Serve.
BUT the next night I had a few blossoms left and I was determined to try the fry method, so I took yet another shortcut and made them with---sacreligious I know---leftover pancake batter from that morning. When my husband had a little leftover batter I glanced at the ingredients which lets face it are similar to the batter for deep frying. And it wasn't just any pancake batter, it was from Stonewall Kitchen which almost made me feel vindicated in my plot to fry blossoms.
Here is my 'cheating-with-batter' recipe:
Pancake Battered Blossoms 12- 14 blossoms Kosher or coarse salt Even mix of vegetable & olive oil, to fill 3/4 inch up sides of small skillet
Use the blossoms within 1-2 days of purchase. Keep them loosely wrapped in damp paper towels. Remove pistils from center of flowers. Add 1/4 cup water to 1 cup of [already made] pancake batter. (Or instead of pancake batter, Marcella mixes 1 cup water and slowly adds and stirs 2/3 cup flour until creamy).
Heat the oil over high heat. When it is very hot, dip the blossoms quickly in and out of the batter and slip them into the skillet. When they are golden brown on one side, turn them and cook them to golden brown on the other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, sprinkle with salt and serve promptly while still hot. Serves 4.
Find Stonewall Kitchen's Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix