Zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta and deep-fried are a classic summer dish. The petals are too delicate to hold on to for long, so in the short time they are around we tend to stick to the tried and true recipes. Until now.
I recently saw a post from Neil Faba, the man behind the wonderful Communal Table blog, about baked zucchini blossoms. Neil did his simply just sprinkling with salt and pepper before tossing them in the oven. I decided to try my traditional stuffed and breaded blossoms baked in the oven.
To clean the zucchini blossom, open it up as delicately as you can and pinch out the little stamen in the centre, they are now ready for stuffing. The ricotta was mixed with lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon thyme and delicate pea shoots. This was then scooped into the blossoms. They were put into the fridge for a few hours to firm up and when it was time the oven was pre-heated to 400. Each stuffed flower was dipped in egg wash then dredged in breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne. The breaded bundles were then laid out on a parchment covered cookie sheet. They went into the oven for 8 minutes, were pulled out and flipped before going back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes to brown both sides.
They came out beautifully crunchy on the outside and meltingly soft in the centre with no greasy residue on the palate or the fingers. Served over a salad of farm fresh baby lettuces with radish and more of those wonderful pea shoots, they were a big hit with my dinner guests. After the dessert was served there was no huge pan of oil to clean up, no scent of deep-frying in the air. Just one crumb-y sheet of parchment to ball up and toss.
Thanks Neil, you’ve inspired and healthier and easier alternative to an old standby without sacrificing any flavour!