Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

 
Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms

June 23rd 2014By Chef Laura Frankel

Once a year, there is a rare opportunity to take advantage of a culinary delight. Zucchini blossoms are gorgeous yellow/orange flowers that resemble a lily. Most gardeners just ignore the blossom while waiting for the zucchini to grow and then harvest it. I, however, look forward to the blossoms and each year scheme to find them. I haunt the farmers’ markets and neighbors’ gardens waiting to scoop up the brightly colored treasures. Several years ago, I grew zucchini just to get at the blossoms. The blossoms taste like garden perfume. The flowers have a fruity fragrance that is delicate and addicting! Make no mistake though; these are hearty-sized flowers! These are not delicate lady-like blooms. Everyone can enjoy zucchini blossoms! The female flower is a golden blossom on the end of each emergent zucchini. the male flower grows directly on the stem of the zucchini plant in the leaf axils (where leaf petiole meets stem), on a long stalk, and is slightly smaller than the female. Both flowers are edible, and are often used to dress a meal or garnish the cooked fruit. Firm and fresh blossoms that are only slightly open are cooked to be eaten, with pistils removed from female flowers, and stamens removed from male flowers. the stem on the flowers can be retained as a way of giving the cook something to hold onto during cooking rather than injuring the delicate petals, or they can be removed prior to cooking, or prior to serving. there are a variety of recipes in which the flowers may be deep fried as fritters or tempura (after dipping in a light tempura batter), stuffed, sautéed, baked, or used in soups. Once you try zucchini blossoms, you will find yourself plotting ways to get more of these rare delicacies. Zucchini blossoms only appear when the plants are immature, usually in the early summer. I like my blossoms tempura-battered and fried but also serve them stuffed with cheeses, fried and served with a fresh basil-tomato sauce.