While strolling through the local farmer’s market this past weekend, I came across a bag of these beautiful zucchini flowers.
Immediately, I was transported back to my summers in Italy as a little girl when my grandmother used to make these for me from the few little zucchini plants she had in her tiny garden. They were such a treat then – and I was hoping they’d be just as good when I made them! I was not disappointed! Making them is so simple, once you realize what the heck you need to do with these delicate flowers!
First and foremost – these flowers are very delicate and should be used as quickly after picking as possible (definitely no more than a day or two). First I very gently rinsed them off in some cold water and put them on a towel to pat dry. Then I cut off the stem and removed the pistol inside. I opened them up flat…and now they were ready to become the treats I remembered so dearly.
I took the petals and coated them with some beaten egg that had been seasoned with salt and pepper. (I added a bit of Prosecco to the beaten egg – some people add beer or mineral water!) Then I dipped them in some flour and placed them immediately into some hot olive oil in the frying pan. I cooked each side until they were golden brown. I laid them in a dish covered with a paper towel to absorb the oil and patted the tops with another paper towel. Once I was pleased that the excess oil was off of them, I placed them in a serving dish and sprinkled them lightly with some salt. That’s when I devoured them! They were SO good 🙂
While rummaging through my arsenal of “to be tried” recipes, I came across this one. It was printed in Italian, and therefore, probably from some Italian site I frequently look at (but, unfortunately, I don’t know which one). Thankfully, I had had the foresight to print this out, because it was delicious! Such a simple concept – and why didn’t I ever think of trying this on my own without a recipe? Hmm…sometimes the simplest things are those not thought of. Now I’m wondering what other vegetables would lend themselves to this dish. Eggplant comes to mind immediately, but perhaps something like peppers would be interesting, too. So many possibilities…
Zucchini – sliced lengthwise in thin strips
Grated Parmesan cheese
Grated cheese of your choice
Salt & pepper
Spread some olive oil on the bottom of a casserole dish (I used a square one and it was the perfect size). Sprinkle some breadcrumbs over the oil. Begin by placing a single layer of zucchini on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. Add a little salt and pepper (but go easy on the salt, or omit it altogether since the prosciutto will add saltiness to the dish). Drizzle some olive oil on top of this layer. Add a layer of prosciutto and cover that with some of the grated cheese. Repeat the process of layering zucchini (with parmesan cheese and olive oil), prosciutto and cheese until you run out of zucchini. Sprinkle the top with some breadcrumbs and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the zucchini is softened. Enjoy!