As summer veggies begin to appear in the garden, there’s a decadent treat you might overlook: the flowers on your zucchini plants. These fragile beauties are a tasty delicacy, a little sweet, with a silky mouth-feel.
If you’re growing zucchini, simply keep your eye out for blossoms as they appear on your plant. If you aren’t growing squash, the flowers can be harder to come by. Check out your farmers market or ask gardeners you know. I have also successfully used pumpkin flowers, and both summer and winter squash flowers should be game as well. I harvest my blossoms in the morning when they are fresh (watch out for bees and other pollinators that may be buzzing around inside). I then carefully rinse them, shake them dry and remove the pistil (the stalk in the center of the flower). At this point I put them in my fridge till dinner time. It’s better to keep the stem attached because it gives you a way to pick up the flower and it keeps you from removing the bottom of the flower. You don’t want to tear a hole in the flower or you won’t be able to stuff it.
- 8 blossoms, with roughly 2 inches of stem attached and pistils removed
- 2 oz. block feta cheese, crumbled and softened
- 1 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 4 tsp. heavy cream, divided
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbsp. diced chives
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- peanut oil (or another oil that will tolerate high cooking temperatures), enough to cover your pan about 1 inch
- Stir together cheeses and 2 tsp. of the heavy cream, if needed, to make a thick, Greek-yogurt-style consistency. Mix in the basil, chives and pepper.
- Stuff each blossom with 1-2 teaspoons of cheese mixture. Gently twist together petals to seal in the cheese. Set aside.
- Whisk egg and additional 2 tsp. cream in a pie plate or shallow dish. Sprinkle flour in another pie plate. Dredge each blossom first in the egg mixture, then the flour, taking care to cover each thoroughly.
- Heat oil in pan. When the pan is hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle in it, carefully place 3-4 blossoms in the pan. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Repeat 2-3 times until all flowers have been cooked.