Crispy Cheesy Zucchini Flowers

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Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t be!

They’re soooo fast and easy to cook and they make having a million zucchinis to harvest throughout the summer worth it!

So, as you know, anyone with even one plant encounters the excessive zucchini harvest each summer.

What to do with so much zucchini?  You can only make so much sautéed zucchini, zucchini bread, muffins, cake, pastas, etc.  And you can’t give them away.  Because everyone else has the same idea!  They’re giving them away at book club, at church, on your doorstep, aaaaaaahhhh…..

Well, cooking and eating your zucchini blossoms not only give your palate a much deserved break from the flavor of zucchini, but it also halts the growth of more zucchini!  That’s right.  You can stop eating zucchini from your garden guilt-free, without throwing anything away.

By harvesting the female flowers of the zucchini plant, you stop fruit production of the plant.  Of course if you’re still looking to experiment with new and exciting zucchini recipes, just harvest the male flowers, since the female ones are the ones who bear the fruit.

Which blossom is male and which is female?

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The female blossom is attached to the zucchini itself and the male is attached to a long stem.

Let the savory adventure begin!

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Pick the blossoms that day.  I have heard that they can keep on a paper towel on a plate in the fridge for up to a week, but this isn’t true.  After the first day, they start to dry out and the petals get all stringy.  And they are not as tasty, at all.

Pick the blossoms in the morning.  As they open up for the day, they attract all manners of insects which tend to hang out there and inevitably don’t hear the announcement for last call and get stuck in the flower when it closes up in early evening.

I can tell you from experience that it is extremely unnerving to hear your zucchini blossom “buzzing” on the kitchen counter and then watch it morph & stretch in every direction as its alien being tries to find its way out.  My advice is to quickly take said alien-invaded blossom onto your patio so that the angry bee stuck inside can fly away from your head when he finally emerges rather than right at it.

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Take a small paring knife and make a small slit from the base of the flower all the way to the petals. (If the flower is closed.  If it’s open, remove the stamen and stuff down into the “mouth” of the flower.)IMG_1343

Remove the pollen-covered pistil, the yellow tube-shaped part.  It is quite bitter.

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Stuffing:

Add 2 teaspoons heavy cream to 3 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese, in a medium bowl.

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Combine with fresh ground black pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon,

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at least 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt,

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1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves,

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and garlic scapes (those delicious curlicues that top off your garlic plants in late spring).  If you don’t have anymore or never did, you can grate 1 small garlic clove or chop up 1 tablespoon of scallion instead.

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Anyway, add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic scape to this glorious mixture and stir and taste tp make sure there’s enough salt!

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Now, stuff those flowers!  But don’t leave the filling hanging out like this.  This is just to create a pretty picture for you to see.  You really want the filling to be hidden inside the flower.  Twist the petals around the filling to seal them up!

Batter:

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In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of club soda . (Any seltzer works great too.  Really, any type of carbonated drink will give the same result but may change the flavor a bit if it happens to be Cherry Coke, for example!)

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Dredge zucchini flowers in batter,

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until completely coated, allowing excess to drip off.

Fry in about 2 inches of vegetable oil at 350 degrees, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.  Salt lightly right after you’ve pulled them out of the oil.

Place on paper towels to drain.

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Serve alongside a little bowl full of your favorite jar of marinara.

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Serves about 4, if you harvest 8 flowers.

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

 

 

 

 

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