Did you know that zucchini blossoms are not only edible – they are delectable!
Many of the friendly Asian farmers in Building A at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market are selling zucchini blossoms in the fall as well as the spring.
That’s good news for me because stuffed zucchini blossoms are one of my favorite treats.
The only problem is that you need to use the delicate blossoms them right away – no later than 24 hours after you buy them.
As soon as I get home, I put mine in a glass of water, cover them with a plastic bag and put them back in the fridge. If you leave them out on the counter for even an hour or two they will wilt badly and be very hard to stuff.
Since I get asked by other shoppers almost every week why I’m buying them – and how to stuff them – I figured you might want to learn about this Italian delicacy, too!
I often use a simple mixture of fresh ricotta, egg, parsley, nutmeg, and parmesan – but lately, I’ve also tried substituting half of the ricotta for an equal amount of the beautifully flavored chevre from Zack Gadberry at UAV (Uno Alla Volta). This past Saturday I stuffed half of my blossoms using Zack’s Southern Pimento Chevre and half with the Garlic Chive Chevre, and was hard pressed to say which I liked best!
I also keep this recipe gluten-free by using Ian’s Gluten-Free Panko – either Original or Italian Style.
And although you can certainly find plenty of recipes that fry the stuffed zucchini blossoms, I’ve found that baking them in a 400°F oven for about 12 minutes provides delicious results with no added fat.
Although my hubby and I ate these beauties as a vegetable course with our shiitake mushroom red wine risotto (more on that lovely dish in another post!), I also love to serve them as a starter.
There are many dedicated foodies out there who have never experienced the charm of this simple, but elegant appetizer – so if you serve them at your next dinner party, you’ll get extra points from your guests for your creativity!
- 12 zucchini blossoms (keep them in water in the fridge covered with a plastic bag)
- 1 cup ricotta
- 3 eggs, divided use
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- several dashes of ground nutmeg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup Ian's Gluten-Free Panko (regular or Italian style)
- Alternate filling: substitute ½ cup of chevre for ½ cup of ricotta and omit the Parmesan
- Trim the stems of the zucchini blossoms and put them in a glass of water as soon as you get home from the market. Enclose the glass of water in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Adjust the racks so that one is in the upper third of the oven.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta (or the ricotta and chevre), one beaten egg, parsley, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- In a shallow bowl, beat the other two eggs.
- In another shallow bowl, place the Panko.
- Line a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Remove the squash blossoms from the fridge and take out of the water. Be very gentle with them because they are delicate! Gently open each flower, and remove the stamen in the center. Carefully spoon the filling into each of the zucchini blossoms and twist the top edges tightly together to close.
- Dip each of the stuffed zucchini blossoms into the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, and carefully place on the lined baking sheet. My advice is to stuff them one at a time.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Depending on how evenly your oven heats, you may need to keep them in a few more minutes because they definitely should be lightly browned and crispy.
- Remove from the oven; let cool for a minute or two and serve to your adoring guests.
- Remember, this recipe will easily double or triple, so just buy more zucchini blossoms next time and increase the amount of filling.
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