July 1, 2014
I really grow zucchini for the blossoms; the zucchini is great and super versatile, but in my garden it’s just an afterthought. This summer those gorgeous blossoms are everywhere — from the compost pile to the flower garden and even on the side of the road near our house.
I’ll snip the flowers and sprinkle them over homemade flat bread and quesadillas, or the most requested, stuff the blossoms with goat cheese and fry.
I often make and serve these stuffed blossoms with friends when we are gathered around the kitchen island — my friend Justine coined this “island living.” These are easy enough to make along with drinking a glass of wine and chatting with friends.
Out in the garden; look for the males with the stems. They help in pollinating but don’t bear fruit — making them the perfect candidate for stuffing. If you need a few more blossoms you can snap off just the flower from the female and the fruit will still grow. Harvest the buds in the early morning or late afternoon when they are closed.
The key is to get all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start. To prepare the blossoms, make sure to remove the piston carefully — it’s not unheard of for a bee to get stuck in the bud. To clean them, simply rub gently with a clean, damp towel, don’t submerge them in water.
These cool off pretty quick. While you make them in batches make sure to have a warm oven (200 degrees) going and a cookie sheet fitted with a rack. After frying, place them on the cookie sheet and keep them in the oven until you are ready to serve.
I forgo making a batter and use an egg wash and dip in Wondra flour. If you are gluten-sensitive, feel free to substitute with cornstarch. The bigger the bud the more cheese you can pack in. The goat cheese has a nice, bright flavor and also acts like glue that you can mold the flower around. Also, be sure to get your oil nice and hot, that’s the difference between a crispy or soggy blossom.
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Goat Cheese
Canola or safflower oil
9 zucchini blossoms
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup Wondra flour
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Heat 2″ of oil in a frying pan until it reaches 350 degrees. While your oil heats, carefully remove the stamen of the blossom. Open the flower carefully and remove the stamen from inside with your fingers. Wipe with damp towel.
Take about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of the goat cheese (depending on the size of your blossoms), molding it into an oval shape and stuff it toward the base of the stem — the spot where you removed the stamen. If the flower should tear, no worries just press the flower into the cheese and it should stick nicely.
Whisk the egg with a splash of water and season with a pinch of salt. In another small bowl add flour and another pinch of salt and pepper. Dip stuffed blossom in the egg mixture and then dust in the flour.
When your oil is ready, cook the blossoms in batches about 2-4 minutes; the bigger blossoms will take a tad more time. Flip the blossom over halfway through cooking. Remove them to a paper towel and season with sprinkle of sea salt.
If you are working in batches store the cooked flowers on the rack/cookie sheet combo in a warm oven.
To serve: Spoon some sauce onto the middle of a small dish and lay 3-4 stuffed blossoms on top. Finish with a sprinkle of torn basil leaves and serve.