Fried Flower Power
Around this time of year, foodies start spying one of our favorite finds at the farmers markets: zucchini blossoms. These are the pretty yellow flowers that grow above the root of the zucchini plant, and can be harvested to eat before the main squash part is fully grown. Actually, I’m pretty sure that these are kind of like garlic scapes — a part of the plant farmers used to just throw away before they realized they could sell them to us sustainability saps at a premium.
I spotted these guys at my local far mar a few weeks back and loved that they still had the teeny tiny squash part attached. The flowers themselves have a pretty delicate flavor. I know this sounds obvious, but I’m gonna go ahead and say they taste a little bit like a zucchini, a little bit like a flower. After some exploring the Internet, I found that most people go the same route with these — stuffing, breading and frying. Hey, who am I to argue with that?
The most common stuffing ingredient is cheese, and since I had some nice, meltable gruyere in the fridge, I went with that, stuffing a few blossoms with just cheese and a few others with cheese and green garlic. But I also wanted to see how the flower-y taste worked with a more dessert-y flavor, so I also stuffed a few blossoms with blueberries.
First things first, you want to make sure to comb the insides of these babies carefully. I say this because inside one of my blossoms I found a rather unappetizing sight — a dead bee. Makes sense when you remember this is the inside of a flower, but still, you don’t want to eat that.
The stuffing part is relatively easy — just put a bit of whatever you’re going with inside, then fold the flowers up to enclose. Holding the blossoms closed, dip ’em in egg, then breadcrumbs, then fry up for a few minutes in oil.
They’re like fried flower lollypops! And the blueberry ones were actually my favorite. If I could make these a little cleaner and more uniform (it was tough to get the breading to stick evenly) I think they’d be a pretty fun and impressive party snack.
I’m wondering — what else have you ESers stuffed inside zucchini flowers? Any experience using them another way than the good ‘ol stuffing-and-frying?