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zucchini blossoms
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject: zucchini blossoms Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Reminiscing about my trip to Italy last year, I started to develop a craving for fried zucchini blossoms. Looking at those pictures in the Silver Spoon Italian cookbook didn't help either.

I've never made these fried zucchini blossoms before, so can someone help me out with a few questions?

At what time are zucchini blossoms readily found?

Anyone know of any farmers markets or grocery stores in Los Angeles that carry them?

Are they hard to grow yourself?

The ones I had in Italy had a wonderful peppery bite to them --- is that attributable to the taste of the blossom itself or the filling?

Finally, what fillings do you recommend?
Very Happy

Thanks in advance. Haven't posted in a while due to the deluge of work at the office.

Audrey
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blossoms are found from spring through to autumn, depending on the climate.

Not sure about your local supplier, but growing them is so easy... infact it is using them up in time that can be the problem! You may find yourself giving heaps of zucchinis away to anyone who looks even vaguely in your direction on the street.... Laughing

I would say that the pepperyness would have been the filling. On their own they are more melting and soft and zucchini-y.

You can fill them with just about anything. Cheese, Breadcrumbs and anchovies, herbs, minced meat or fish (precooked), pretty much anything that will cook quickly and can be made to a "stuffing" type consistency.

Are you going to bake them, or fry them? Both are delicious, but I love the light - sort of tempura style - batter that you get sometimes on the blossoms. Crispy on the outside and melting on the inside. YUM!
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Debbie says, they are really easy to grow. I have really limited space but this year I am trying some round ones -- like the ones featured in one of Clotilde's recipes. I found the seeds at seedsofchange.com -- the only place I've seen that type.

The first time I had them was in LA from a farmer's market, but I was just visiting so I don't know where the market was. Sorry Crying or Very sad

There are some really beautiful soups featuring the blossoms too ...
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just remembered, I think the "Casserta Zucchini Squash" http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.asp?item_no=PS10896 was specifically mentioned for its flowers (in the print catalog but not the website).
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minkey ---

Have you tried growing this kind of zucchini in a pot? If yes, how deep and how wide was it? Did you have to create some kind of trellis for it? I've never done vegetables in containers before, aside from the few radishes I grew in mini milk cartons in the 3rd grade. Thanks for the info and the link!
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NewYorkDely



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 15
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have a good recipe for Zucchini flowers? I always see them stuffed with goat cheese, but to me this isn't such a great pairing as the goat cheese dominates the flavors. I would love try something different.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only seen them with different types of cheese, ricotta being one. If you find chevre too harsh, this may be a good alternative.
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minkey



Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Location: Tempe, Arizona; US

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Audrey, I have seen a couple recipes for pasta with zucchini blossoms, like this http://www.recipecottage.com/pasta/zucchini-blossom.html and this http://home.earthlink.net/~ggda/pasta_con_fiore_di_zucchine_purea.htm. Also, let me know if you want the soup recipe I have at home. I haven't tried any of these yet, but to me the soup seems like it lets them shine through the most.

You are definitely supposed to be able to grow zukes in containers. Some are big and bushy but there are vining varieties that you could trellis (I think cocozelle is one). I'll look up recommended container size when I get home. I think Debbie sounds much more knowledgeable about gardening than I, but my 2 cents is that I prefer terracotta. I think it does dry out faster but I think it lets the soil "breathe".

-Minkey (actually Kristen Wink )
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew two types of zucchini, and they were both WAY too big for a container. My garden could barely contain them.
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Growing zucchinis is easy as. The happier your plants are, the more flowers they will yield. Pick the ones without a littlle zucchini attached if you want zucchini, and pick all of them if it doesn't matter to you. There are two types available here. A trailing one and a "bushier" variety. They will eventually fill whatever pot you put them in and if the trailing type, will wind all along a good sized trellis or length of fence. Depending on where you live, you should have then started in a windowsill by now.

I think the peppery bite was due to the filling. The flowers are rather mild.

I stuff zucchini flowers with a ricotta filling (ricotta, egg, herbs, breadcrumbs and parmigano) and dip in batter. But a traditional way to prepare them is also as part of a fritter. I have a recipe for the batter somewhere. Typical batter with eggs, herbs, sometimes a hot pepper and, of course, cheese.. parmigiano reggiano is good but go with grana padano or a blend of the two (more economical). Other hard grating cheeses (pecorino) work well too. Do not use overly bitter, metallic, butyric, domestic parmesan, tastes terrible.

They are also a great add to a fritatta.

Don't overstuff. Cleaning filling out of the frypan is no fun.

And (words of wisdom from Ma) pick them in the morning when they are open and you can see any bugs. Easier to clean and trim and saves you from surprise extra protein. Don't trim until ready to use, they bruise easily. And let the zucchini get no bigger than a small cucumber. More tender and tasty. Good for grilling too. Larger ones can be used for breads and the like.

enjoy!
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gisele



Joined: 28 Mar 2006
Posts: 154
Location: North of Auckland, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leo,

Do you know if its possible to buy zuchinni flowers in New Zealand?
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gisele,
Yes, they are.. Moore Wilson's in Wellington had them for $3 a pre-packed flower Shocked I don't remember if there was one or two per bag.. That's just wrong.
Depending on where you live (save for the far south - my beloved Dunedin), and with a little well-vented hot house, you could easily have them for a good portion of the year without the exorberant expense.
The whole reason i fiori were eaten in Southern Italy was because they were plentiful (read:cheap). If they were $3 each (I can hear Ma now - but I'll be polite) they would have eaten something else.
They are good stuffed but there is nothing like the fritters, called 'patae' (also patealli) in dialect, with a glass of red wine as an antipasti or anytime.
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject: fritters Reply with quote

Hi Leo,
do you have a recipe for the fritters you mentioned?
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kristinamadonia



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my most memorable evenings in Napoli last year was walking the streets with my husband, eating a bag full of freshly battered and fried goodies, sprinkled with some good coarse salt. Included in the aforementioned were the most mouthwatering fried zucchini blossoms, which I had never eaten before! The memory of that dinner (washed down with beer...) has inspired our tradition of deep- fry fridays at home. Interestingly, the blossoms are the one thing I haven't tried to make, since I haven't seen them at the supermarket yet. I'm assuming they show up in the late spring or early summer here (Toronto). Other fattening delights we do whip up include potato croquette (some filled with ricotta), and panelle (Sicilian fritters made with chickpea flour). Good luck in your quest!
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Leo



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 94
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi jenjen,

I do have a recipe for the fritters. There are two "versions" depending if you want to add zucchini or not.
The first I just dip individual flowers into the batter and fry and the second incorporates some flowers and coarsely grated (or thinly sliced) young zucchini. Alternatively a light tempura style batter is nice for the stuffed flowers. Cornflower makes a crisp coating.
I'll post them in the recipes later on today.
And they are fantastic with beer! KristinaMadonia, do you have a favourite? Nastro Azzuro, Peroni, Moretti.. the primary labels are all similar but there are some different brews emerging.
Even though wine is so associated with Italy, beer is surprisingly often the beverage of choice, especially among the younger generation. Italian beer is generally light and refreshing and imports are very popular too.
I recall alot of beer on pizza night at an Aunts house in Polistena as well Smile
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