This is the season for delicious Zucchini Flowers!

Growing your own garden is such a wonderful and giving experience. If you plant zucchini you will benefit from not only the delicious fruit known as zucchini. It is treated as a vegetable of course but those beautiful blooms on the plant also give us a wonderful ingredient to work with in the kitchen.

If you are an avid restaurant goer you will often see these beauties stuffed with cheese or meat mixture and lightly panfried or even fried to delight your palate. Sometimes they are served with mini zucchini attached for an amazing side dish to your main course.

I grew up enjoying both the zucchini flowers and zucchini from my grandparents, parents and now my garden. My Nonna would fry up simple fritters that we would gobble up quickly or add it to some minestrone with other greens from the garden.

I love using them in pasta and also these fluffy ricotta fritters. Often times I do not have enough just to fry up so using the ricotta in the fritter batter makes them a bit heartier while still being able to enjoy the delicate flavour they have. Paired up with some fresh basil from the garden these are a winning appetizer to serve with drinks or enjoy them as a different side dish to your summer barbecue. I've also included an easy pasta recipe from my cookbook Italian Express for those that may have an abundance of flowers to enjoy!



Zucchini Flower Ricotta Fritters

This little snack is perfect for this time of year when zucchini flowers are blooming daily in my garden! If you are growing zucchini in your garden be sure to leave the flowers on the zucchini and simply remove the flowers with no fruit attached! You will get the best of both worlds, wonderful zucchini flower dishes as well as sweet summer zucchini and squash! 

1 tub (about 450 g) ricotta cheese
3 eggs
12 zucchini flowers, chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil, divided (approx)
Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano chunk


In a large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, zucchini flowers, basil and garlic. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into ricotta mixture until well combined.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Using a soup spoon, scoop out some of the batter into skillet and flatten slightly. Fit a few more in the skillet making sure to leave some space around them for flipping. Cook for about 3 minutes or until under side is golden. Flip over and press down fritters gently and cook for about 3 more minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining batter. 

Place fritters on platter and grate Parmigiano all over them before serving. 

Makes about 24 fritters.

Tip: No zucchini flowers? That’s okay, grate a green or yellow zucchini and squeeze it well then add it to the mixture.

Adding an additional sprinkle of fresh salt over top of them is also delightful if you do not want to add the cheese over top.


Penne with Zucchini Flowers

In the summer if you grow zucchini sometimes you just don’t know what to do with all those flowers. First, they are awesome fried in a simple batter to make a crunchy treat, but they are also delicious in pasta. Here they are matched with their fruit-the zucchini for a light summer pasta dish.

1 lb (500 g) penne rigate
1/3 cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 zucchini, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each hot pepper flakes and salt
3 cups (750 mL) fresh zucchini flowers, chopped (about 24 flowers)
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook penne for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet heat oil over medium high heat and cook zucchini, garlic, hot pepper flakes and salt for about 5 minutes or until softened and golden. Add zucchini flowers and parsley and cook for about 2 minutes or until flowers are wilted. Pour over pasta and toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings.

Shrimp Option: Add 8 oz (250 g) large raw peeled and deveined shrimp to zucchini mixture and cook until firm and pink.

Tip: If fresh zucchini flowers are unavailable, add 1 yellow zucchini, finely chopped to the other zucchini.


For another great simple zucchini flower recipe and a little info check out this article I wrote.

Comments

  1. Hi There - desperately looking to buy your Per La Famiglia cookbook - not having any luck going through Amazon or Indigo. Do you sell them on your site?

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