One of my favorite things about growing zucchini this season are the bright orange flowers that are constantly blooming on the plant. They are gorgeous to look at, especially in the morning when they are bright and open. It wasn’t until recently that I learned you could eat them. Not only could you eat them, but you could stuff them, cook them, and devour them – and they are delicious! From Mexico to Italy, people have been enjoying squash blossoms as long as they’ve been blooming. In Mexico, they are often made into quesadillas. In Italy, they are usually dipped in batter and fried. YUM. Okay, now I am starving again thinking about them. (Don’t worry if you are not growing squash yourself – you can get these at farmer’s markets or specialty markets.)
There are several ways to prepare them, but I’ll give you the most delicious way to do it in the quickest way possible, so you can do this in a pinch on a weeknight. (I’ll add more involved recipes at the bottom, in case you are interested.) Here we go!
Squash blossoms (a dozen or more)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular)
cheese of your choice (I love ricotta, or mozzarella)
2 tablespoons of herbs of your choice (a blend of fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and oregano, or Italian seasoning)
s & p to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Gently rinse your squash flowers under running water, and allow to dry on a paper towel. Gently remove the pistil from the center of the flower (careful not to tear the leaves.) Beat your eggs in one bowl, and pour your breadcrumbs in another. (You are going to dip them first in the egg, then the breadcrumbs before you fry them, as you would with chicken cutlets.)
Now, get your cheese mixture ready. Simply add your herbs (rinsed and chopped if fresh) into a bowl, and mix your cheese in with them. One by one, begin adding about a tablespoon of the cheese and herb mixture into each flower. Give the petals a twist to close them when you are finished stuffing. Now, you are ready to dip and fry.
Place olive oil in a frying pan, on medium heat. One by one, begin dipping the stuffed flowers in the egg mixture, then give them a quick roll in the breadcrumbs before placing them in the frying pan. You want to move quickly here – by the time you have placed them all in the pan, it will be time to start flipping them. (I told you this was quick!) Overall, they take less than 5 minutes to cook up – about 2 minutes on each side.
When you are finished frying, simply put them on a plate and serve! Feel free to season with s & p, or as my neighbor Brian does, with a little cayenne pepper – delicious!
Here are some more recipes that are a bit more involved – and equally delish!