I went on quite the shopping spree last week at the Union Square Greenmarket. Among the goodies I picked up were these nice zucchini flowers and a loaf of fresh ciabatta bread. Stuffed zucchini flowers are one of our family’s favorite summertime treats, but the dilemma, as always, is what to stuff them with. This time I chose the ciabatta bread, dicing up the crispy ends of the loaf and cooking it with onions and herbs. The mixture ended up resembling, well, stuffing, like the kind you put in a turkey, only without the heavy flavor of sage. This filling worked surprisingly well and would also work well with other things added (cheese, seafood, etc…). Just get the zucchini flowers while you can, the season doesn’t last long!
Bread and Onion Stuffed Zucchini Flowers (serves 4, or really 2 because you will want to eat them all)
12 zucchini flowers, washed well
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cups crusty bread (ciabatta, baguette, etc…), cut into very small cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
Approximately 1-1/4 cups flour
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until soft. Add the bread, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for about 2 minutes. Add enough water to the mixture to bind the bread pieces together, and continue to cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Stuff each zucchini flower with the bread mixture, taking care not to tear the sides of each flower too much. Now, heat the vegetable oil in a clean frying pan over medium-high heat. Coat each stuffed zucchini flower in some buttermilk, followed by a nice coating of flour, then put it in the frying pan. Cook for just 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are crisp and golden all over. Drain on paper towels, then serve.
We ate the flowers with some fresh heirloom tomatoes and some homemade ricotta that I made earlier that day. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some coarse sea salt, and you have a perfect bite of summery goodness.