By Jane Stickland
Stuffed zucchini flowers are a great Italian appetizer and a great way to keep from being overwhelmed by the number of zucchinis coming from your garden. There are a variety of ways to prepare these, and with a little practice you can become a master. The basic ingredients are fresh zucchini flowers, a stuffing, and a breading.
Female flowers (with the baby zucchini attached) or male flowers both work, as do the flowers from any squash or pumpkin.
First, clean and remove the hard stamen from inside the flower to prepare them for stuffing. Here are a few simple stuffing recipes. Use your imagination and add your own!
Basil and Mozzarella Cheese stuffing – Cut the mozzarella into narrow segments just a little shorter than the flowers. Wrap the cheese with a large basil leaf and insert into the cleaned flowers
Mozzarella and Anchovy stuffing – Cut the mozzarella as above, take a small anchovy and a piece of cheese and insert into the cleaned flowers.
Sausage and Ricotta Cheese – Finely chop thyme, basil, and parsley. Brown the Italian sausage. Mix the sausage with an even amount of ricotta cheese and some of the herbs. Take a teaspoon of the mix and stuff each of the cleaned flowers.
Once the flowers are stuffed, dip them in beaten egg and roll in flow-er or Italian breadcrumbs. (Some people like to fry them without the coating.) Heat olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the coated flow-ers until golden brown. Cool on a paper towel to drain any excess oil and serve warm.