Monday, September 3, 2007

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Almost two months ago, I bought quite a few (read: 12) vegetable plants at the farmer’s market on a complete whim. They were really cheap and I had to have them because I decided that I needed a summer project. I know, I’m kind of impulsive. They were supposed to be planted in the ground like a proper garden, but, for a variety of reasons, they ended up in pots on my balcony. Surprisingly, they are thriving – probably because it has been so incredibly hot in Baltimore this summer. 

Amongst them is one zucchini plant. No one ever informed me that I needed more than one plant in order have a mix of males and females and therefore ensure pollination of the females. It turns out that I have a male. Since he won’t be giving me any zucchini, I have to put him to good use by using the flowers in the kitchen. 

Zucchini blossoms have a delicate flavor that I would call something like mild young zucchini crossed with saffron (not surprising), and they go great with mild, soft cheeses or are wonderful lightly battered and deep fried. This recipe takes care of both all at once.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
(serves 4 as an appetizer)

8 zucchini blossoms with stems attached
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons rice flour*
¼ teaspoon salt
2 grinds of black pepper
¼ cup cold seltzer
8 pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese, approximately 1- ½ to 2 inches long by ½ inch wide (length will depend on the size of the blossoms)
4 large basil leaves, each cut in half lengthwise
*found in Indian and Asian grocery stores; you can use a total of ¼ cup of all purpose flour if you can’t find rice flour, but rice flour will make the batter lighter and crispier
Whisk together flours, seltzer, salt, and pepper. The batter should be a little thicker than crepe batter but thinner than pancake batter. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. 

Heat 1” of canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat to 375° F.

Meanwhile, prepare the blossoms by gently tearing down one side, removing the pistil, removing bugs, rinsing, and patting dry with paper towels. Cut stems down so that about 1 ½” remain. Put one piece of cheese and one piece of basil inside each blossom and twist the ends of the petals to close the blossom.

Dredge each blossom in the batter so it is evenly coated. Gently place in the oil and cook for 1 ½ – 2 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve immediately.


xiao zhu said...

these look and sound wonderful! you have some great recipes here.

Pink Thumb said...

What a great recipe! I'll have to try this. I have tons of flowers and no zucchinis on one plant and lots of basil. I like using tempura batter. It's yummy tasting.

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