Yesterday morning my local farmers market was plentiful of summer veggies and I packed my grocery bag for the week.
Aubergines, red bell peppers, green beans and courgettes, crunchy salads, cherries and peaches.
I also saw these very fresh pumpkin flowers and I couldn’t resist: their bright yellow color represents the nice season and makes me happy.
When I went to Sicily, last August, this was how the garden looked like.
My mother picked about 50 pumpkin flowers every morning and she offered them to friends and neighbors!
When I was child, I used to eat the zucchini blossom “a cotoletta” – cutlets.
If you want to prepare them you need to open the flowers, pass them in flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs.
Then you fry them in hot sunflower oil .
They were a thousand times better than the meat cutlets to me.
In Tuscany, where I live, the “fried flowers” are covered in a light batter, the deep fried. If they are cooked in a proper way they are light and crunchy like a tempura.
In Lazio, “Roman fried zucchini flowers” are filled with mozzarella and a piece of anchovies before the usual dip in the batter and oil.
As you can understand, frying is the italian favorite cooking method to enjoy the zucchini flowers.
I tried different methods to prepare them.
Last year I used them during my cooking lessons to prepare a delicious dish of fresh homemade tagliolini and smoked cheese.
This is the summer of zucchini al forno!
Ricotta flowers zucchini flowers
25 fresh zucchini blossom – 500 g. cow or sheep milk ricotta – 2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano – 1 tablespoon fresh basil , thinly chopped – 6 cherry tomatoes – 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven at 180°
Clean the zucchini blossom. Shake them to remove any insects; remove the green parts around the buds and the yellow stem inside the flowers. Wash them gently under running water in order to remove dirty. Line them on kitchen paper.
Prepare the filling. in a bowl combine the ricotta, the parmesan cheese, the basil, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Gently spoon one teaspoonful of cheese cream into the zucchini flower and twist the petal to enclose.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper and put the zucchini flowers in one layer. Cut the tomatoes in quarter and dispose them over the zucchini.
Dust with breadcrumbs, season with the extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
Serves 6/8 people if you serve as started or side dish – 4 people as main course