I have been intrigued by zucchini blossoms since the first time I tried one stuffed with goat cheese and lightly fried. For one thing, they are very delicate and pretty. But they also have subtle squash flavor that is really nice. And what isn’t good with cheese? About a year ago I tried to make my own stuffed, fried zucchini blossoms … I failed. I found it was hard to stuff the flowers without ripping them, and I’m not very good at frying things in the first place. So last week when I came across an article on The New York Times Diner’s Journal blog about eating the blossoms raw, I decided it was time to give them another try.
I was even more excited to try this recipe because I actually have zucchini blossoms growing in my yard (thanks to my awesome neighbors who planted an incredible garden!) But here’s the thing about gardens: there are bugs. This may seem obvious, but last Saturday, Daisy and I unexpectedly found ourselves in an epic bug battle over zucchini blossoms. We picked a few blossoms and went back inside to wash them. A few fruit flies were buzzing around, nothing too alarming … until a big bug crept out from within the depths of the flower. Obviously I screamed, Daisy screamed, and we both ran away. Gathering my courage, I returned to finish washing the blossoms and as I was, I saw a bee on my finger. <more screaming/running> Instinctively I grabbed a boot, but Daisy had a better idea – the vacuum cleaner. Tentatively we inched towards the sink to suck up the bee, only to find there were 2 bees. <even more screaming/running>
In the end we discovered there were THREE bees hiding in ONE flower. We were so horrified by this incident that Daisy threw them back into the garden. Afterwards we realized we were not going to find zucchini blossoms at any nearby grocery store (and of course, we had seen them that morning at the farmers market). So we re-collected the tossed blossoms. This time we stayed outside, cut open the backs of the flowers so any potential critters could escape, and hosed them down. Miraculously there were no more bugs. Moral of the story: buy blossoms at the market or be prepared with a vacuum.
Zucchini Blossom Bruschetta, adapted from The New York Times*
- 6 zucchini blossoms
- 1 cup pitted mixed black olives, chopped
- 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 piece burrata or buffalo mozzarella
- 1 loaf of french bread, cut into thick slices
Wash/de-bug zucchini blossoms and remove stamens. In a food processor, combine olives, anchovy, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest. Pulse until coarsely chopped, while slowly adding the olive oil. This will make more tapenade than needed, but it will stay good for half a week. Meanwhile, toast the french bread slices. I used a panini press, but an oven/broiler works just as well. Spread a thin layer of the tapenade on each slice (it is really salty so use your best judgment). Add a slice or two of mozzarella to each piece of toast and top with a zucchini blossom. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.
*If you want to make stuffed zucchini blossoms, the NY Times recipe skips the bread and uses the tapenade and mozzarella as the filling.