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Monday, October 29, 2007

October 21, 2007: Baked zucchini flowers

Our visit to Brunswick on Saturday morning also yielded some zucchini flowers. Michael noticed them at the large fruit & veg shop and pointed them out. I automatically whirred through my mental catalogue of recipes and remembered one for baked and stuffed zucchini flowers. Unfortunately I didn't have the right blog name neurologically attached, nor did I bookmark it when I initially found it. Even so, it only took a bit of time sifting through my blog aggregator to find the source: this was another spring gem from Jules of stonesoup.

More recently, Haalo has remarked on the differences between male and female zucchini flowers, and I can retrospectively identify mine as female, the better for stuffing. Lucky, 'cause I had no idea about their gender issues at the time. (I wonder if Jules had any surprises during her de-flowering...) The stuffing recipe includes two delicious cheeses, ricotta and parmesan, and is lifted into real spring territory with the zing of grated lemon zest. Even though we didn't have as many flowers as Jules did, I made the full quantity of stuffing - we enjoyed it spread on crackers and bread for almost a week.

While we strictly followed Jules' instructions for stuffing and baking the flowers, we got a bit lazier on the dressing. Instead of buying or making basil oil, we simply sprinkled the baked flowers with shaved parmesan and torn basil leaves. The result was incredibly delicious - the baking transformed the flavour of the ricotta to something deeper and nuttier, while the zucchini stalks were tender and juicy. I'm sorry to say that I may never make this again.

I may never make this again because I hate piping. I HATE PIPING. I've got neat handwriting and I like my pictures hung at just the right angle, but I cannot handle the finicky-ness of squeezing spaghetti-lengths of goo onto a cake or into a floppy zucchini flower. It's where I draw the line. I've never claimed that life is too short to stuff a mushroom, but my fuse is definitely too short to pipe anything. I'll pay some other patient schmuck for my delicately-iced cupcakes.

If you're willing to brave the piping (it's probably worth it, I must admit), grab the recipe from stonesoup.

9 comments:

  1. These look delicious but I am with you about life being too short, let's just order them at restaurants where some other poor guy has spent the day piping and not us!!! Vida x

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  2. Hey Cindy, quelle coincidence: I bought zucchini flowers on a whim on Saturday too! I've never cooked them before and am a little apprehensive. I agree with you that although they're heaven when stuffed, life is too short for us to make them that way ourselves... :)

    I'm cooking mine tonight - was thinking of just lightly sauteeing them in good olive oil, maybe throw in some toasted pine nuts and or hint of garlic, then stir them through pappardelle and serve with lots of cracked black pepper and crumbled Persian fetta. I've got some enoki mushrooms too (inspired by Anh's blog) - d'you think they'd be good thrown in, or would it be too many flavours? Do you reckon that'd be a good way to do the zucchini flowers? How long do you reckon I'd need to cook them? Sorry, I'm still a novice chef and desperately seeking cooking tips :)

    Sorry for the long post. Yours look sensational!

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  3. love your blog! These look delicious.

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  4. Yum, I've always wanted to make something with zucchini flowers but never seem to see them in the shops so I love the fact that you bought these in Brunswick where I live - which fruit & veg shop was it?

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  5. I'm with ya, Vida!

    Funny thing, Mutemonkey! I'm no expert, but your sauteeing ideas sound good to me. If you have females with mini-zucchinis attached to them, I imagine it would take a while (say, 10-20 minutes over medium heat) to get the zucchs nice and tender and there might be a risk of having the flowers wilt away to nothing...? Maybe you could detach them and add them to the pan a bit later. Unfortunately I think I'm too late to offer advice this time round - let us know what you tried for dinner and how it went!

    Hi there Veg! Thanks for visiting.

    Ange, I'm not sure of the name of the fruit & veg shop, but it's the large one on Sydney Road, just north of Savers I think. Hope this helps!

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  6. Well after all that I ended up just serving my (female) zucchini flowers on their own as an entree - lightly sauteed with toasted pine nuts and then crumbled Persian fetta and pepper. Delicious, but in hindsight should have separated the flowers from the mini-zucchinis as you suggested, and added them at different times. Still, now that I've cooked them once, I'll cook them next time with much more confidence! :)

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  7. Great, Mutemonkey! Some salty fetta sounds like the perfect accompaniment to me, and there are plenty more zucchini blossoms to perfect the technique. :-)

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  8. The only thing I stuff, is my face.

    I'm with Vida... buy them in resto's or pay someone to do it for me.

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