Zucchini flowers are a true delicacy of summer. Sadly in New Zealand it’s rare to find them for sale, mainly because freshness is key and they are best used the day they are picked.
Some varieties are better than others in producing flowers that last. This year my yellow zucchini is just covered in large flowers and I couldn’t resist nipping them off to stuff and fry. My father would call this robbing the cradle. You can avoid destroying you potential crop by only taking the male flowers which flower from the stems. The female flowers on the other hand will have the zucchini fruit attached.
I discovered that squash flowers can also be treated in the same manner which is great as my pumpkin patch has gone mad this year!
Be sure to clean the flowers very carefully, making sure no little insects are hiding.
12 Zucchini flowers
2 cloves garlic
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan
Freah herbs (basil, chives, Italian parsley….)
Salt and pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Slosh of wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 zucchinis (depending on their size)
Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in a little oil (I used coconut, but a good quality olive oil would suit). When transparent put half into a bowl leaving the other half in the pan for the sauce.
For the sauce
Add a slosh of wine (red or white will both work) to the pan with the remaining onions. When the wine has nearly evaporated add the tin of chopped tomatoes along with some basil or oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend the sauce along with ½ cup water until smooth.
Chop the zucchini and capsicum into small dices and sauté for 5 minutes then add back the blended tomato sauce.
To stuff the zucchini flowers
To the remaining onions add the ricotta, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Chop the fresh herbs and mix these in along with a pinch of salt. Carefully open each flower and stuff them with the ricotta mixture.
1 cup flour
¾ cup of ice cold water
Make the batter by mixing the egg in the flour and then carefully whisk in the cold water until it is smooth. Dip each stuffed flower into the batter and then fry in hot oil until golden all around. Rain on a paper towel and sprinkle with a little salt.
Place a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce on each plate and top with a 2-3 fired flowers.