Fried Flower Power

zuchinni flower

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?

cheese flowers

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.

fried flowers

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?

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  • Nee Nee August 4, 2010  

    One evening last week I went out to pick some blossoms and a variety of baby squash. It’s freaky when the blossom starts vibrating in your hand. OMG it’s alive!!! Luckily I emancipated the bees before they suffocated. I didn’t stuff my blossoms that night. They got pan fried in butter and mixed in with whole grilled baby squash. They were edible for about 10 minutes but horrible as leftovers. It was, MEH. Stuffing and breaing would have added more flavor. I wonder…can you stuff with a bit of meat, too?

    I think the upcharge for blossoms at the market might be because the farmer has to be pretty vigilant to harvest at the right time. Squash grow exponentially during the course of an afternoon. They go from babies to baseball bats in like an hour. 🙂

  • Vicki August 4, 2010  

    I grew up eating flowers stuffed with meat, breaded and fried. I’ve also had the flower coated in a light batter, fried, and dusted with powdered sugar. And they’re great sliced and added to a quesadilla.

  • erica August 4, 2010  

    i’m too lazy to stuff them, i just eat them on my salad alongside the nasturtiums. we did add the nasturtiums to pasta but they lost all their heat in cooking 🙁

  • Lindsay August 4, 2010  

    I made an amazing pasta recipe using squash blossoms (especially nice if they’re looking a little tired from the heat/hanging out in the fridge for too long). I found it on Orangette– you don’t need to use pappardelle like the recipe calls for though. Enjoy!

  • Maids August 4, 2010  

    a dead bee… eh could be way worse than that. Flor de calabasa (squash blossom) is a staple in Mexico I hear tell.

  • Lucas August 4, 2010  

    I would have been more inclined to stuff it with a finely ground lamb and goat cheese and would suggest to try a tempura instead of breadcrumbs. Weight balance is the name of the game when working with flowers… delicious delicious flowers.

  • gansie August 4, 2010  

    re: bee

    once i opened a bag of arugula that i bought at the far mar and a fucking spider walked out. i screamed and didnt buy the loose arugula for the rest of the season. frankly, im still kinda nervous what i’ll find squirming around with vegetables.

  • dad gansie August 6, 2010  

    Interesting people. …née née , your so right; I’m growing z’s and not keeping a close eye on the blossoms they grew into the largest Effin (and like your bat description) creations. Gansie & 80 P saw them and sadly forgot to take it home.
    Mind blowing. However I did harvest a few, without baby z growth
    I can’t imagine what the record breakers growers go thru
    So far no crawling / buzzing things yet brought into the house
    Good work es’ers

  • Sarah Downing April 7, 2011  

    I just wanted to comment because I have tried these as a popular meze (appetiser) on several Greek islands. They are absolutely lush. Typically, they are very lightly breaded and then stuffed with feta cheese and mint. Divine! The mint really is a great addition:-).



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