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zucchini flowers - some new ideas, please

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  • kate May 12, 2005 07:47 PM
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Everywhere I look bunches of riotous yellow squash and zucchini flowers are on sale. I have tried in the past a greek dish, which involved par-cooking tomatoey rice and then baking it in the flowers, which was quite disappointing (the flowers seemed totally superfluous)

Does anyone have any useful, different applications for them?
Someone suggested I fold the chopped petals into an omlette, but I don't know if this is for looks instead of taste. Do they even have a taste???

I'm not particularly interested in deep frying them.

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  1. My sister stuffs them with a ricotta cheese mixture (herbs, ricotta, onions), dips them in batter then deep frys them. Delicious, and surprisingly light. I think there are many recipes for fried zuchini flower out there...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Clare K.

      I made them last year for the first time. I stuffed them with a chunk of feta wrapped in a fresh mint leaf, then dipped them in egg and then flour and fried them, and they were fabulous. This year I am going to try the same thing using mozzarella and fresh basil.

    2. I agree that a large part of their charm is how they look - like spring! That said, they do have a mild taste. I don't remove the stamens- like the crunch. We prefer them fried with a light rice flour & corn meal batter coating, but also use them as a last minute accent veggie in egg dishes, pasta dishes, etc. They are subtle, but lovely. Just play with it.

      1. Squash blossoms are used in Mexican cookery. They are wonderful in quesadillas w/ a mild white melting cheese.

        I'm jealous that you have them since I was hoping to score some at my farmer's market last weekend to make a squash blossom soup from my Rick Bayless book (calls for 25 blossoms). Fortunately, found the recipe online and linked for you below.

        I made the soup (pictured below) anyway using zucchini instead. Would have looked much nicer garnished w/ the blossoms like the recipe stipulates. The roasted poblanos and corn were also wonderful in this soup. Only problem I had was that the milk curdled in the broth b/c the heat got too high. I added some cream to help it emulsify again. When I make it again, I will just finish w/ some cream at the last few min. and omit milk altogether. A little nutmeg might be nice too. Enjoy!

        Link: http://www.melissas.com/recipes/index...

        Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover

          I'll have to call BS on Bayless' recommendation for dried epazote. It has ABSOLUTELY no flavor. One of those spices that must be fresh.

          However, I'm making this tonight, in a way - so thanks for the post!

          1. re: rudeboy

            Interesting comment...I've never used epazote before and opted for fresh parsley in this case. Perhaps you just had some old dried stuff that lost its oomph? Dried herbs (when not stale) are usually more concentrated in flavor than their fresh counterparts.

            Quoted from the Melissa website on epazote:
            "A wild herb found in Europe and America, Epazote (pronounced eh-pah-ZOH-tay) is a green herb with a sharp, strong flavor. Often compared to cilantro (coriander), Melissa’s Dried Epazote is made up of crushed leaves whose pungent flavor also works as an anti-gas agent when combined with beans. Popular in Latin cooking, Epazote is also used by both Mexican Indians and Europeans to create an herbal tea known as tisane. Although Epazote can be grown from seed, it is rarely found in fresh form."

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I guess it's just my location. I have to have epazote fresh for tortilla and other chicken soups. I grow it in the backyard, where it grows so abundantly in th summer that it has to be fought back a bit. It reseeds itself every year, but there are about 6 months before it is ready again. I have tried dried forms in the wintertime (from Central Market, Whole Foods, etc.), but there is absolutely no taste. I'd love for you to try the dried and the fresh in a taste test.

              I agree that some herbs dry pretty well. Dill is one, for example, that I don't even attempt to grow because the dried form is so pungent (and I don't have to fight off the butterfly larvae). Oregano dries pretty well, basil doesn't, tarragon really doesn't, etc. Maybe we should start a new thread on this one?

          2. re: Carb Lover

            Oh, I forgot to tell you Carb - Campbells makes a regional condensed Crema de Calebaza soup that, when used with whole milk, is actually really tasty in a pinch.

          3. My mother sautes them briefly with garlic and puts them on top of pasta -- yummy.

            1. they are wonderful in crepes and omelettes.

              2 Replies
              1. re: queue

                But do they actually have a taste? or is it more about aesthetics? Can you try and describe its flavour? Thanks.

                1. re: kate

                  to me they taste like okra & young, raw zucchini with a bit of mushroomy funk.

                  try them in the neutral suggestions hounds have made: risotto, omelette, simple pasta, quesadilla. salt & fat (olive oil, butter, cheese) bring out their full flavor.