“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”
I always look forward to the summer, when there are so many amazing foods growing all over the place! Fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries. I keep promising myself I will spend a lot of time with my camera taking photos, cooking and writing about it. Well, guess what – the season comes and I have absolutely no time doing all of the things I meant to do. When the weather is gorgeous, I spend it outdoors – hiking, biking, running, grilling with friends, with camera somewhere in close range, yet peacefully waiting for fall. Then it gets darker sooner, the nights are colder and the kitchen seems so inviting.
Anyway, last weekend I made it my inevitable goal to cook and “spread the word”. Zucchini blossoms were my target.
After spending half a day picking weeds and thinning plants in the garden, I picked some of the blossoms for cooking. Despite being vegetarian, those flowers were asking for meat stuffing. Accordingly my parents became my tasters. They already know my golden rule – once trying my food, people need to be brutally honest whether they liked it or not. If they praise my cooking simply out of courtesy, they may be in for a surprise and next time get a similar dish. Besides critical reviews teach me and drive me forward in exploration of things never tried before.
Zucchini blossoms (some wikipedia expertise) are the edible flowers of Cucurbita species, particularly Cucurbita pepo, the species that produces zucchini (courgette), marrow, spaghetti squash, and many other types of squash. Male and female squash blossoms can be used, but picking only male flowers (leaving some for pollination) allows the plant to also produce some fruit (zucchini). Zucchini blossoms may be stuffed, battered and fried, or made into soup. The flowers have a subtle flavor, reminiscent of young zucchinis, and can be eaten raw.
- Zucchini blossoms
- Chicken breast
- Cayenne pepper
Dice the chicken breast, add chopped garlic, a tablespoon or 2 of ricotta, a pinch of cayenne pepper, salt’n’pepper to taste. I had ~8 blossoms for stuffing, so kept to proportions – 1 breast, 3-4 garlic cloves, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne, 2 tablespoons of ricotta. Make it as spicy as you wish, adding more cayenne if you do like it hot! Mix everything. Carefully open up the blossom. The petals are very tender. Using a small teaspoon, scoop in the filling. As much as allows you to still close the petals together around the filling.
Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan, add the stuffed blossoms and carefully turn, giving a few minutes a side. Et voila! The dish is ready. Now the blossoms may be of different sizes. Mine contained about 2 tablespoons of filling, so I fried them for about 10 or so minutes.
We were discussing what garnish would go well with this dish, coming to a mutual agreement, that blossoms are just perfect as they are dipped in some spicy sauce or salsa.