One of the most colourful items in the market right now are bunches of zucchini flowers. There they sit, a beautiful golden yellow, like a burst of sunshine (not that there’s no sunshine outside!). The Romans eat them stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy, dipped in batter and deep fried. Delicious if done properly but often the batter is too heavy and the oil not at the right temperature so they turn out like a greasy fritter. I hate deep frying and was trying to think of another way to cook them when my sister sent me a recipe she had gotten from a friend in the US but had never tried, zucchini flowers being something one only has in Canada if you grow them. . It involved stuffing the flowers with a mixture of sautéed baby zucchini mixed with parmesan, parsley etc and baking them in a hot oven for 10 minutes. I thought this was a good way of doing them and perfect with a main course of grilled or roast chicken. Fidz did not like the basil, and of course preferred the traditional way, but then he’s Italian 🙂
1 medium sweet onion or 2 shallots
1 garlic clove, minced or very finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 – 2 ozs)
8 large zucchini flowers
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and garlic, cook over moderately low heat until softened. Add the chopped zucchini and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the herbs, transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Wash the zucchini flowers and remove the pistils carefully so as not to damage the petals. Trim the stems leaving about 1 inch. Stuff each flower with as much of the filling as it will hold and twist the petals to seal.
Arrange the flowers in a baking dish greased with olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of water. Bake at 200oC for 10 minutes. Drizzle with more olive oil if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.