Zucchini flowers have been on my dream cooking list for a loooooong time. Since I don’t have a garden and here in Finland these delicacies aren’t really sold anywhere, it’s taken me this long to get a hold of them! But as you can see from the title and the pictures, my dream has finally been fulfilled. And it was SO worth the wait!
I have a feeling every foodie knows, that zucchini flowers are usually stuffed with something cheesy, battered and fried. And I have to admit, that was my plan with the flowers too! What I hadn’t thought of however was time … or more the lack of it. See, zucchini flowers are one of those ingredients that really needs to be used instantly. And if you happen to bring home 8 zucchini flowers because you wanted to treat yourself and then realize you have an hour before you need be somewhere, deep frying is really NOT an option.
Fresh stuffed zucchini flowers
a Fleeting Joy
Indeed, when you bring home a bunch of zucchini flowers, you need time to cook them preferably on the same day. And if cooking zucchini flowers has been a longtime dream of yours, it might be nice to have someone around to share the joy with! So what to do when there’s neither time nor companion, and you have 8 zucchini flowers in your hands for the first time in your life?
First things first: take a bunch of pictures. And then whip up something super quick and eat as many as you can! Luckily I had read that zucchini flowers are also lovely served raw. And I had some mozzarella di bufala around… So my plan of stuffed zucchini flowers didn’t really change that much, I just skipped the frying part 🙂 The resulting simple and quick snack turned out to be so delicious! Raw zucchini flowers have a wonderful mildly peppery aroma reminiscent of watercress and they taste like zucchini (duh). The bufala turned out to be a perfect companion: creamy and mild, serving textural contrast without overpowering the delicate taste of the zucchini flowers.
Girls and boys
By the way, there are two kinds of zucchini flowers: male and female. The female flowers continue to develop into zucchini, while the male flowers will just shrivel away unless you eat them. So why not eat them! According to this story by Spruce Eats, you want to pick zucchini flowers that are looking perky and fresh. And before you eat them, have a look inside to see if there are any passangers tagging along… If you absolutely need to store them for a few days, try to make sure they are patted dry. I ended up storing a few of the flowers for three days, individually wrapped in paper towels and kept in a zip lock bag in my fridge. Although there were small signs of wilting on day three, the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared!
Fresh Stuffed zucchini flowers
I never got around to deep frying and battering any of the flowers. After eating my first ever stuffed zucchini flowers raw, I wanted to eat the rest of them the same way! The combination of the raw zucchini flowers, creamy mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and honey was just so good.
I served the fresh stuffed zucchini flowers on pieces of sourdough ciabatta that I had liberally slathered with confit garlic. A sprinkle of flaky salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, chili flakes and grated lemon zest was all that it took to finish the dish! A dream of a meal, and ready in just a few minutes! I guess time turned out to be on my side after all with this one 🙂
Fresh mozzarella stuffed zucchini flowers
- 4 zucchini flowers
- 1-2 balls mozzarella di bufala
- 2-3 tsp honey
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- flakey salt, black pepper, chili flakes, lemon zest (to taste)
- 4 slices sourdough bread or ciabatta etc
- garlic and olive oil (or confit garlic)
- A quick way to go is to toast slices of bread in olive oil and rub them with a garlic clove cut in half. But, if you happen to have confit garlic around, you can mush it on the bread like I did. Or simply fry some garlic in olive oil until soft and slightly golden, and add that on the bread.
- When you want to serve the zucchini flowers, gently open the petals and check there's no insects hiding inside. Remove the stamen/stigma if you want, it can be bitter. Divide the mozzarella in four and stuff each flower with cheese.
- Add the stuffed flowers on the pieces of bread, and drizzle with honey and extra virgin olive oil. Season with flaky salt, freshly cracked black pepper and some chili flakes. Grate some lemon zest on top and serve immediately!