Monday, July 20, 2009

Stuffed zucchini blossoms!

A trip to The Square One Farmers’ Market yesterday yielded two different kinds of organic mushrooms (I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the names when the vendor was kindly providing me with drool-worthy explanations of my options) and a small container of the unicorn of foodie treats, zucchini blossoms. The food blogs I frequent have done their fair share of talking up these summertime treats, but I had never seen them available anywhere before. I was quite happy to purchase a small basketful (with just one badly wilted flower out of thirteen) so that I could try my hand at preparing my own.

Initially, I thought I'd stuff them with a Chinese fried rice-inspired filling, as I have many of those ingredients on hand. The reference recipes I consulted for stuffed zucchini flowers, however, showed that the "traditional" (Italian) method involves a stuffing of seasoned ricotta cheese. Obviously, that wouldn't be an option for me, but the knowledge inspired me to attempt the "tried and true" recipe on these elusive items.

I settled on an organic roasted garlic, cream chezz and organic sautéed mushroom stuffing, seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper. I'm happy to report that I've improved my makeshift-pastry bag technique (the one where you fill a plastic bag and snip off the corner) which has improved drastically since my first attempt, when I made chocolate sandwich cookies. Things were much tidier this time.

I dipped the blossoms in a tempura-like batter — inspired by this post over at Just Hungry — made with cornstarch, glutinous rice flour, all-purpose flour and cold water. I then pan-fried the blossoms in my cast-iron skillet in a shallow layer of oil.

If I do say so myself, the result was incredible. The tips of the blossoms become lightly crispy, the filling ends up oozing with warmth and its saltiness counterbalances the natural sweetness of the zucchini blossom (which tastes much like the zucchini itself, but with a wholly different texture). I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to make these again, but I certainly hope I will.



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