Thursday, June 17, 2010

Got Squash in your Garden? Cook it Italian Style--

Got too much zucchini? Eat the flowers. The blooms of this easy to grow summer squash are a seasonal delicacy in Italy where they are eaten raw or fried.

Titina loves them--And this time of year, the Capri Flavors Chef often has a colander of zucchini flowers on the kitchen counter--ready for prep.

Freshness is important. The blossoms are delicate and need to be eaten the day they are picked.

This is easy in Italy where these popular flowers fill outdoor markets this time of year.

If you can't find them locally, it's worth planting a few zucchini plants in your garden or making friends with a local farmer. This is a really good dish--

First Titina lightly washes the flowers under cool running water, drains and pats them dry.

She removes the flower pistil and stuffs each flower with a small ball of mozzarella cheese. (You can use a toothpick to close the blossom for easier handling.)

The blooms are then dipped in a simple flour, egg and olive oil batter. (The batter should be runny, add water if need be. )

Deep Fry the blossoms in hot olive oil until lightly brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Here's a link to more instructions--with great pictures of the process--at It's a wonderful source for Italian recipes. If you haven't discovered it, do check it out.

And from a favorite Italian recipe source, super-easy instructions for fried squash blossoms with bread crumbs (as translated by Google). Give it a try, too. Because if you have squash--you have a lot of it.

Zucchini flowers should be picked in the morning because they are open and can be cleaned better. Removing the pistil gently without breaking the stem and you remove those little green growths that are the base of the flower cup. Wash them well with great delicacy, dry them and dip in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs. Fry in deep oil a few at a time. Fry them fairly quickly, I use tongs and put them on paper towel to drain, then salt.


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