They are used in a number of dishes. I’ve had pasta with zucchini flowers and shrimp in a cream sauce and pizza with zucchini flowers, mozarella and anchovies. The most common appetizer is zucchini flowers stuffed with mozarella and anchovy, dipped in batter and deep-fried. I hate deep-frying anything and have not been tempted to try this. In a previous post, I included a recipe for a baked appetizer with zucchini flowers but we have discovered a simpler and more delicious alternative. You will need the flowers of course, some good fresh mozzarella (the kind sold in liquid) and anchovies.
Take a few flowers, wipe them with a damp towel or rinse and dry them well. I used to remove the pistils from within but I don’t even bother to do that anymore. Cut the mozzarella into strips that will fit inside the flowers. Cut the anchovies into halves or thirds if they are large. Carefully open the flowers, put in a strip of mozzarella and a piece of anchovy into each. Gently twist the petals so that the filling stays inside. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the stuffed flowers turning once so that both sides are done.
Once the flowers soften and the cheese melts a little, they’re pretty much done though you can saute them a little longer if you prefer them browned and a little more crisp.
Okay,I can see all you gardeners saying “I’m not removing the flowers before any zucchinis have actually grown” and I totally agree. So here’s the solution.
We’ve been seeing zucchinis in the market with the flowers still attached and we now kill two birds with one stone as it were. We make an appetizer with the flowers and use the zucchini as a vegetable and both are equally delicious. If anyone in Ontario tries this, I would be interested to know how it turns out as I’m not sure if the zucchinis we generally grow over there are the same as the ones sold here with the flowers still attached. Perhaps my sister, ‘Farmer Florinda‘ can try it out and tell us what she thinks.