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What do I do with Zucchini Flowers?

I saw some at the local farmer's market here in SF and my beloved Take Home Chef was stoked on them in one of his shows.... but what can I do with them as a just-learning to cook chef? Does anyone have a recipe?

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  1. You can stuff them and gently cook, or incorporate in fritata, or in pasta sauce.

    Epicurious has recipes, search on 'zucchini blossoms'.

    Note, cleaning them apparently involves removing the pistil.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Louise

      sorry to mince, but if she's got zucchini flowers, they're male flowers, so they'll have stamens, no pistil-- the female blossom will produce the fruit of the vine, so it's the male flowers that are harvested and sold at market.

      1. re: soupkitten

        I won't dispute with the stamen/pistil details, as am not a botanist. However, I have seen blossoms for sale with the tiny fruit attached.

        1. re: Louise

          oh that's different, then-- i assumed the op was asking for recipes specific to squash blossoms. i've always prepared small new zucchini with blossom-still-attached the way i would regular zuch, leaving the blossom attached.

          the male blossoms are what i see sold at my market, sometimes with stamens, sometimes not, with long stems, no squash obviously. they're sold in bunches like herbs or cut flowers.

        2. re: soupkitten

          Actually, both male and female blossoms are sold at farmers' markets here in San Diego. The females have the small zucchini attached and the males just the long stem.....although, you Would Think that the males would have that small cucumber attached, rather than vice versa.

      2. One of my fav ways is a crabmeat stuffing and the blossoms are cooked in a fish stock.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          Ooooh, that sounds so good! I think I'll go make some now. . .

        2. as soon as you get them home, before you walk in the house, shake them-- sometimes there's a squirrely ant or other pollinator going about their business--

          if the stamens are not already removed by the farmer, you might want to do this, but not strictly necessary

          use them right away snipped into a big salad OR

          make a light batter with egg/water or beer/flour, chill the batter for 20-30 mins

          make a stuffing with ricotta & herbs or breadcrumbs & veggies & egg binder, or leftover potsticker filling, or plain grated cheese, or whatever you have.

          stuff the blossoms with a heaping spoon of filling (but you don't want to overfill them, be stingy at 1st). twist the blossoms closed at the tip, chill for 15-25 mins in fridge

          heat oil until hot in heavy bottomed pan, cast iron is ideal-- you want about 1/2 inch oil

          dip blossoms in batter, slip into oil (careful) and fry, turning, until brown. don't crowd pan, takes 3 mins or so per blossom. transfer to paper towels with metal tongs to drain, sprinkle with sea salt and eat right away.

          don't try to keep the blossoms-- eat them within hours of buying at the market :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: soupkitten

            I've found that the beer (or club soda)/flour batter is lighter and more successful than an egg based batter, because the blossoms are so delicate.

          2. Okay, it does sound hard, but stuffed zucchini blossoms are do easy and fantastic it's ridiculous.

            This is my favorite thing about spring, by the way..

            Steps and thoughts:

            Use your blossoms withing hours of picking.
            Make a filling- I make a filling of goat cheese (let's say about 4 oz), about 1/2 of a beaten egg, some chives, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
            Mix the filling up, and put into a ziploc bag.
            Cut a corner out of the bag for piping in the filling.
            Pick the stamens/pistils out of the flower carefully- and watch for bees!
            Pipe in the filling, and gently pinch closed.
            Let rest.
            Make a little batter of beer and flour. (1/2 cup beer, 1/2 cup flour) and dip the blossoms in right before:

            Fry in hot olive oil. I use about an inch deep, and turn once.

            They are even better if you have a tiny zucchini attached, I usualy "fan" it so it will cook a little faster, as the veg is more dense than the filling.

            1. Oh, and they are female flowers if there's a little zucchini still stuck to one end--don't cut it off, they're great as-is. They're male if there's no fruit, just a stem.

              1. Three things similar in principle: a) blossom incorporated in fresh pasta intended for large sheet ravioli, b) blossom incorporated flat in the egg part of an omellete, and c) blossom incorporated in crepes.

                1. ...and continuing on the crepe theme, they are also great in quesadillas, with a mild cheese, possibly some mushrooms, and a little diced pepper to your taste. the oaxacan version usually uses quesillo cheese and a wheat wrapper (empanada style, or a wheat tortilla). i'm sometimes feeling lazy and pick up frozen pre-made empanada wrappers and roll them out a little thinner to make wrapper (and a mild cheese like mozarella will do in a pinch--sadly, we can't get real quesillo where I live, though i've been known to sub armenian string cheese!)

                  1. I don't find the blossoms have a particularly strong flavour - I use them more for the prettiness and as an interesting garnish. It may sound obvious, but they make a lovely - and relevant - garnish to any zucchini dish.

                    To confirm what others said:
                    1. Use within a day - they wither and are hard to open after that
                    2. Remove the stamen, pistil - whatever that thing inside is called. Use a melon ball scooper, or even a clean (!) fingernail

                    I clean them as I would spinach, just before using them: fill a bowl or sink with cold water, gently place the blossoms in the water, and agitate with your hands. The sand and grit should fall to the bottom of the bowl/sink.

                    I use them to garnish zucchini risotto, or I stuff them with a ricotta gnocchi mix (piping bag - or ziplock bag with corner snipped - helps here), poach and serve in a zucchini broth-style soup.

                    One last tip: if they tips of the flower won't twist and stay shut, I use a bit of kitchen string, tied in a slip knot, to fasten the end closed. After poaching/sauteeing, I simply remove the string before serving, and the flower tips should still remain shut.

                    Enjoy your beautfiul, edible flowers!

                    If

                    1. If you want to look online for recipes for the Italian stuffed, battered & fried version, search for "fiori di zucchini ripieni." I believe the Roman Jewish style is stuffed with mozzarella & anchovy, but I see a number of recipes with ricotta.

                      http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                      1. I like to stuff them with a dab of mozzarella and a piece of anchovy, dip the whole in tempura batter and deep fry. Serve with a tasty tomato sauce for dipping.

                        Makes a great antipasto!

                        1. Batter and fry in parmesan, panko and parsley crumbs.