Sunday, August 4, 2013
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
Whether you're growing zucchini in your own garden or buying them at markets, you've no doubt come across the beautiful big yellow blooms of a zucchini plant. They may not be fragrant but they sure do taste good.
I had heard of people eating zucchini blossoms several years ago but I wasn't in a hurry to give them a try. It takes me a while to warm up to a new idea. Even in fashion (and I am by no means a fashionista), I'm just beginning to like a style as its on its way out.
The other day I was walking through the farmers market and saw some blossoms. Apparently both the male and the female blossoms are edible. I don't know why I'd think otherwise but this was the first time I'd seen them with baby zucchinis still attached....a.k.a. female blossoms. I usually just see the males (fruitless blossoms).
The above female blossoms were $1.25 for the 6 of them.
I then learned from a chef on Facebook that if you are growing your own zucchini, you can pick all but one of the male blossoms. Not only will you have something delish to play with in the kitchen and eat, but it will also promote more growth in your plant.
I suggest that you prepare and eat the blossoms the same day you get/pick them. I read somewhere that you should pick them in the morning while they are still open so as not to discover any little buggies that were trapped inside the closing flower. (isn't nature just so much fun....).
The blossoms are a bit delicate...work gently with them if you plan on stuffing them. If you don't plan on stuffing them....never mind. It's a moot point.
Let's talk about the flavor. Mild. Nothing about the flower itself stood out...but then again I had stuffed it with cheese, garlic and lemon zest, which are pretty strong flavors in themselves. Because I was using the female blossoms, I did get that zucchini flavor at that end. But even when I bit the tips of the fried flower, I was not hit with an overwhelming flavor of any kind. I think I'd have to eat it raw to really give you an accurate opinion. But it is a great vessel for a delicate and memorable appetizer. (even Sir Sportsalot ate one....which shocked the hell out of me). Now I've heard that pumpkin flowers taste like wild mushrooms. Makes me want to rush out and buy a pumpkin plant for my garden just so I can try them.
Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
6 zucchini blossoms
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, mince
1 green onion, finely chopped
pinch of lemon zest
1 1/4 cups of flour
good pinch of salt, plus more before serving
12 oz beer
Heat a large saucepan or pot with 2" of vegetable oil over medium - high heat.
Combine the cheese, garlic, green onion and lemon zest in a small bowl.
Carefully open the pedals of the flower and work about 1-2 TB of the cheese mixture into each blossom.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pinch of salt and beer. Whisk until almost smooth. The batter should be like pancake batter, with a few lumps. Don't over mix...you'll lose the body that the beer provides. Feel free to add more flour or beer if needed to get the desired consistency.
Working in batches, carefully dip and roll the stuffed blossoms in the batter. allowing excess to drip off before placing into the hot oil. ***BE very careful as the oil will spit and splatter due to the wetness from the ricotta cheese.
Fry for 2 - 3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove from oil and let drain on rack. Sprinkle with salt.