Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Z is for: Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta

I've been wanting to make stuffed zucchini blossoms on the blog for quite some time now.

But here's the problem...

Because their life span once harvesting is so incredibly short, they are almost impossible to find at the farmer's market or in stores. (though you may get lucky!)

Honestly, the best and easiest way is to harvest them from your own garden (if you are fortunate enough to have one!)

For the first time in my adult life, I have a verrrrry small collection of herbs and plants this year, and one of the things I planted was zucchini!

So when I saw them start to bloom, I knew I needed to try making these.

Truth be told, I only planted two zucchini plants, so my zucchini blossom harvest was quite small for this recipe (4 to be exact.) You also need to make sure you are harvesting the male blossoms, because if you take the female flowers, you won't have a zucchini harvest at all (the female flowers produce the squash.) I poured over this article that explains the difference, so I would check that out for reference... but basically, the males have the stamen in the middle and usually bloom first.

It's easiest to cut the blooms in the morning, when they are more open. I cut them just about a half inch below the flower. You will also need to carefully remove the stamen from the inside. To keep them as fresh as possible, you will want to use them right away and keep them under a damp paper towel while you get everything ready. I only had four to work with this day, but I made the recipe for 8, just in case you are luckier than me. (Also... the filling works great in my stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos if you have extra!)

Keeping with the color palette of this entire post (yellow and green apparently), I decided to add a little lemon zest and juice to brighten the dish and keep it very light.

As for the rest of the filling, I went with a mix of ricotta and fresh herbs (more green!) I've previously had these before with goat cheese, which I loved... buuuuut my boyfriend (and photographer), Justin, doesn't like goat cheese so I compromised and decided to try them with ricotta. (Shhhh.. Don't tell him, but I think in this particular recipe I actually enjoyed the ricotta more). I also added some fresh basil and chives (from the garden!)... just enough to add another fresh component, but not too much to overpower the blossoms.

To fill the flowers, you can either lightly spoon in the mixture... OR use a piping bag. (I opted for the latter.) Each blossom will probably only hold about 2 teaspoons of filling, depending on their size.

Again, not wanting to overpower the blossoms, I created an extremely light breading. I went with a simple mixture of rice flour and sparkling water. The rice flour is much finer and lighter than AP flour, and didn't weigh down these delicate flowers, which I loved.

After battering the stuffed blossoms, stick them into the hot oil. I just used a frying pan for this, and it worked out just fine. They will only take a couple minutes per side (just until golden brown.) Remove them to a paper towel lined plate to drain and sprinkle immediately with a little sea salt.

These are great to enjoy on their own or with a Fresh Basil Pesto or my Easy Marinara Sauce. Hopefully I can make these again as more blossoms pop up... and definitely looking forward to my zucchini harvest!

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: fry appetizer zucchini blossom zucchini ricotta Italian summer

Ingredients (8 stuffed blossoms)
  • 8 zucchini or squash blossoms
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup sparkling water or club soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • oil for frying (use one with high smoke point such as avocado oil or safflower oil)
  • pesto or marinara for serving/dipping (optional)
  1. Harvest male blossoms from zucchini plant by snipping a half inch below the bloom. Carefully remove the stamen. Keep blossoms under damp paper towel while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Mix together the ricotta, herbs, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, place in a piping bag.
  3. Either gently spoon or pipe ricotta mixture into blossoms (about 2 teaspoons per blossom, depending on size.) Gently twist the top of the flower to seal.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix together rice flour, sparkling water and half teaspoon of salt.
  5. Fill a large heavy-bottomed frying pan about a third of the way with oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you drop a little of the batter in, it should start sizzling.)
  6. Dip the stuffed zucchini blossoms in the batter and allow any excess to drip off. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Allow the cooked blossoms to drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.
  7. Serve with pesto or marinara sauce.
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1 comment:

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