Fried Zucchini Blossoms

by Jenn on April 25, 2011

in Gluten Free,Vegetarian

mushroom risotto with chevre stuffed zucchini blossoms

I was never a picky eater when I was young.  My parents never had a problem with me not joining the “clean plate club” for dinner – meat, veggies, fruit, dairy, never ever an issue. Well, almost – I couldn’t stand mayonnaise, ketchup, or cooked carrots.  The mayonnaise I’ve gotten over now that I learned how to make my own from scratch, and I totally blame the ketchup thing on an insanely terrible meatloaf that was lathered in it at least 1/2″ thick (to cover up the awfulness of the meatloaf) that was made all too often when I was little.  To this day I cannot eat ketchup.  And as for the cooked carrots? Eh I’ve learned to deal with them – my parents were always nice though that if they made carrots for dinner they would always set aside a few chopped up raw for me to eat while everyone else enjoyed the cooked version, and that seemed to be a good arrangement for the most part.  They still do that for me if I go visit. But in general, I always was willing to try new foods.  New never meant scary to me, it was always exciting – maybe I’d find some new flavor to fall in love with!  Ha, you see I was a foodie in the making even when I was young :)

Living in Europe I’ve made it a bit of a point to try new foods, especially if I find something that I wouldn’t normally find in the U.S.  Even if we don’t know what it is (and can’t figure it out by reading the description), I’ll often pick something up anyways just to experiment.  Some foods we’ve tried have been local to Suisse (like gorgeous mirabelle plums that I cannot wait for them to appear again), and some have been a little more exotic (like dragon fruit) – after all, how does one know if one likes something without trying it??

This weekend we went to Torino, Italy where much delicious new food was had.  After we recovered from the shock of an entire kilo of strawberries at the market only costing €3.50 and seeing some of the beautiful sights, we went out for dinner and I had steak tartare for the first time ever in my life.  Steak tartare is a raw beef dish, and if done right can be absolutely fantastic.  I don’t know why I feel like I always had some mental block about steak tartare – maybe it’s because I’ve been told growing up as an American that if meat is not cooked to XX temperature that it’s completely unsafe to eat.  But this was really fresh, and wow delicious.  Not a strong seasoning, and just a garnish of olive oil and sea salt was all that was needed. The wine we enjoyed with it was quite nice too.

I love when trying new foods yields such tasty results.  These zucchini blossoms where another “new food find” here en Suisse that I knew I just had to try.  Ok, I’ve seen squash blossoms in the U.S. before, but never bothered to pick them up and try them.  These blossoms in the market were just staring at me, so bright and colorful and delicate, I just couldn’t resist and knew I had to give them a whirl :)

To prepare the squash blossoms, I followed the advice of one of my favorite chemists/gluten free chefs, Erin Swing, who has posted some great detailed instructions about cooking pan-fried zucchini blossoms.  I found them quite fragile when I was trying to cut out the stamens and fill them with my favorite Swiss herbed chevre.  Then I coated them in a little gluten free flour, and my husband fried them in olive oil.  I didn’t quite realize how heavy they were actually going to be (hello, cheese and fried, I should’ve known haha), so I paired them with a quick mushroom risotto I had made.  So this bowl you see above actually fed the two of us an entire meal, it was that rich.  If you make fried squash blossoms, I highly suggest putting them on top of a salad or something green and light.  Don’t pair it with risotto, lesson learned!

As for the taste? I actually tasted a lot of zucchini elements (no big surprise given that they came from a zucchini plant) – I thought they worked really well with the goat cheese, and now it’s making me think that I need to pair zucchini and goat cheese together more.  I love the delicate crunch from the frilly flowers, and well in all seriousness, anything fried with cheese is bound to be tasty.  I think as more of them come to the markets I will have to try other ways of preparing them too – I’ve never cooked with flowers before, and it’s so much fun making such exotic looking dishes!

What new foods have you tried lately?

Also submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb April 26, 2011 at 12:53 am

Here in Pennsylvania, we fight off the deer who love the blossoms just the way they are in the garden! We usually don’t have enough blossoms to pick and cook if we want the fruit to pick later!

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

Ha I would not have expected that they would be so sought after by deer!

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Beverly April 26, 2011 at 2:36 am

This sounds delightful– I recently have gone gluten-free, and your website gives me delightful ideas! Plus, I have lived in Belgium and Italy, and your posts often take me back:-)

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

Oh thanks!! If you have any questions about making anything, let me know!

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Rosa April 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

A fabulous recipe! That is something I still have to try. I bet they taste divine.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks Rosa! Yes do try them sometime :)

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Krystal R. April 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Oh how I love Zucchini blossoms – they are a rare treat. I had them at Mesa Grill at Bobby Flay’s restuarant – he had them stuffed with goat cheese and coated with rice flour with cilantro oil and another dipping sauce. Ahhh-mazing. I also love that you went to Italy for the weekend. What a delicious meal to enjoy – steak tartare – haven’t had it yet but I’m looking forward to eating it now! I’m sooo excited to be there sooo soon!

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Oh cilantro oil sounds like a perfect pairing! Weekend trips to several places are really easy for us being en Suisse, a huge perk of living here is getting to explore so many new places :)

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Heather Jacobsen April 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm

That’s so funny! My mom did the same thing in my house – gave me the raw carrots so that I wouldn’t have to eat the cooked ones. I never like them. I told her once that they tasted like lipstick! (She wanted to know when I ate lipstick last). I’m still not a huge fan of cooked carrots. I think I don’t like them over-cooked. But when I tried them honey-ginger glazed, that changed my whole outlook on cooked carrots! :)

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Haha so I’m not the only one who has an issue w/ cooked carrots! Though I have to say I’ve never compared them to lipstick before – maybe will have to try a honey ginger glazed version and give them another chance :)

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Lisa @ Tarte du Jour April 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Your zucchini blossoms look amazing! You inspire me!!

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Jenn April 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Thanks so much!

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Janet NZ April 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

I wish I’d thought of these when we had zucchini coming out of our ears this summer! I will take note and try this recipe next season :-)

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Jenn April 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

Yeah it’s the perfect thing to do then!

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Sanjeeta kk April 27, 2011 at 11:08 am

Love this simple and new recipe of Zucchini flowers. Now I need to search for the blossoms to try the same ASP!

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Jenn April 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Thanks! Hope you’re able to find some blossoms!

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Aubree Cherie April 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Hi Jenn – just wanted to let you know that I highlighted this recipe in my Favorite Recipes post for last week. Thanks! ~Aubree

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Jenn April 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Thanks Aubree!!

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Linda April 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Now I’ll have to find out how and when to harvest the blossoms so I know what to with mine this summer. That is assuming I can somehow keep the squash vine borer from destroying them. Thanks for such an interesting and inspiring recipe, Jen.

As for carrots, I don’t mind them cooked if they are in with a soup or stew or other veggies, but cooked carrots by themselves I don’t like.

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Jenn April 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Thanks Linda – ha glad I’m not alone about the cooked carrots!

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Wendy @ Celiacs in the House April 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I don’t know why I keep torturing myself and reading your European adventures. Italy. I am sooo jealous. What fun! I’d just settle for squash blossoms growing in my garden again after the rough Ohio winter and now this rain-soaked stormy spring. Your childhood food memories had me thinking of how I’d hide the liver and onions in my napkin. Blech. Although, I know quite a few people who love the dish, it was torture for me as a child. Now I think the anemia that inspired my mom to torture us with iron-rich liver was probably from her having undiagnosed celiac disease.

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Jenn April 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm

haha! you should come tour around Europe!
I actually liked liver and onions, really interesting speculation about the anemia – will have to think on that one….

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