Summer is coming and zucchini flowers are back in all their golden beauty at our local vegetable stand. I have a hard time not buying them when I see them. They are so pretty. But then I need to figure out what to do with them and quickly too. They have a very short shelf life.
One of my favorite ways to eat this seasonal treat is fried. When we eat out in Italy, we often order zucchini flowers stuffed with oozing mozzarella and salty anchovies. They are typically battered and deep-fried and sometimes have a crunchy exterior and sometimes a doughy one. Both are delicious.
But at home, I like to use the flowers to make light, simple snacks instead. I’ve found that stuffing and baking them with a drizzle of olive oil, is both easy and delicious. There is a lot of room for experimentation here too. You could try different types of cheese. I used fancy goat cheese but another melty cheese could work or perhaps a dollop of ricotta with some grated parmesan cheese? Or lemon zest? Or minced herbs? Basil? Mint? Marjoram?
If you want to learn a bit more about zucchini flowers, check out this good overview on Martha Stewart’s website with information on how to buy, store, and prep zucchini flowers, along with a tasty list of suggested recipes.
Baked cheese-stuffed zucchini flowers
- Zucchini flowers
- Cheese – I used fancy goat cheese but many types of cheese will work. Melty ones and also ricotta, maybe with some grated parmesan cheese or lemon zest or other minced herbs.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: oil-packed anchovy fillets, 1 per flower
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
- Carefully remove the yellow stamen from inside the flower. I use kitchen tongs to do this. It’s okay if you tear the flowers a bit, they will still be tasty.
- Stuff the zucchini flowers with cheese. I also put one oil-packed anchovy in each but the flavor is intense. Make sure you use high-quality anchovies. You can also just skip the anchovy.
- Place the filled zucchini flowers on a baking sheet on waxed paper. They can get messy.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. If you did not use an anchovy fillet and depending on the saltiness of your cheese, also sprinkle with a little salt. If you used an anchovy fillet, it will be plenty salty already.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese melts and the flowers get a little crispy. Many types of cheese are also sufficiently salty.
- Let cool slightly and then serve as an appetizer or snack.