Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Ricotta and Basil

Summer time in New York means farmers markets overflowing with beautiful fresh produce. Few vegetables are more attractive than zucchini blossoms, with their vibrant green and yellow color and their delicate leaves. Until recently, we found such treasures only in restaurants, where they were served as $10 appetizers, but now they are available and can be made fairly easily and inexpensively at home. Having stumbled upon a carton of them last Sunday, I just couldn’t pass them up.

Zucchini blossoms have the familiar flavor of the zucchini but with the delicate texture of a flower. The most common way to prepare these flowers is to stuff them with something cheesy and fry them, the flowers turning into pouches that hold in beautiful flavors of cheese and herbs. Stuffing the blossoms takes a little bit of time, but not that much, and it gets quicker as you get used to it. The payoff is well worth the effort.

Served on a bed of our homemade tomato sauce, these treats are a perfect dish for summer.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Ricotta and Basil

12-15 zucchini blossoms
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (or goat cheese)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh basil (or parsley, or a combination)
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
olive oil for frying

Step 2 – The Ricotta Mixture

1. Treat the zucchini blossoms gently. Pick one up and pull off the stem. Carefully open the leaves and, if there is a bright yellow stamen, remove it (they look like this). Rinse the blossoms gently and pat them dry.

2. Place the ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl and add the parmesan. Chop up most of the basil, leaving some for garnish, and stir it into the cheeses with some salt and pepper.

3. Take about a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and carefully stuff it into one of the zucchini blossoms. Don’t worry if the leaves tear slightly but try to keep the blossom in-tact. When the blossom is stuffed, twist the ends of the leaves together to seal the filling in. Repeat with the remaining blossoms and set aside.

Step 3 – Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

4. Prepare for cooking. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them together. Pour the flour into a separate bowl. In a medium frying pan, heat approximately 1/2 inch of olive oil.

5. When the oil is hot, dip one of the blossoms in the egg and roll it in the flour, coating it thoroughly and shaking off any excess. Place it in the frying pan. It will sizzle. Repeat with the remaining blossoms, cooking them in batches to prevent over-crowding the pan. Cook each one until golden brown on each side. As each finishes cooking, remove it carefully and drain it briefly on paper towels before placing it on a plate.

6. Arrange the zucchini blossoms on a bed of our homemade tomato sauce and top with torn basil. Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4 as an appetizer or side-dish.

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