I can’t recall exactly when it happened but the moment itself is very clear. We were living in New Jersey and visiting my inlaws who live on the shore. (My husband and his family are authentic Jersey Shore.) They also have lots of Italian lineage so there’s no better place for some tomato gravy smeared goodness. Seriously, my mother-in-law could jar her tomato sauce and sell it. Of course, Italian cuisine isn’t entirely covered in tomato sauce and after the move up to New Jersey from the southeast, I encountered and tasted so many awesome aspects of the food and culture.
One afternoon, Chris’ mom was standing over a frying pan on the stove. I peeked over her shoulder and saw bright orange blossoms (!!!) that appeared to be stuffed and breaded. I was intrigued and she informed me that they were zucchini blossoms. There is a small window in which they are available at markets. I was just thinking about them last week and when we were at the Union Square Farmers’ Market last weekend, I saw two different sellers with a few left. They ranged in price from 50 cents to three for a dollar which seems high but they are a once a year treat so when I see them, I grab them since they tend to sell out fast.
I managed to score eight in all! I put them in a small plastic container so they would stay safe in my market bag. You can make so many variations of breading and stuffing for these guys. Don’t be intimidated. They aren’t shrinking violets. They are pretty easy to handle. If you have a pump that you can used to tube icing, those always work perfectly when it comes to stuffing them. I always use ricotta with a bit of egg, salt and pepper. I added sage powder but nutmeg might have also been nice.
One thing that I like about this dish is that it brings in an element of cooking that my southern heart holds dear: frying stuff! Again, you can do a million things here. I am using unbleached white flour with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I use this combo for just about everything when it comes to throwing down in hot grease. Sometimes I add cayenne pepper. You could also mix in a little cornmeal. All of the blossoms had been prepped by that point so they were ready to dip in some egg, tossed in the flour and fried in a bit of canola oil.
Now that I’m more diligent about watching my waistline, I don’t fry things very often. I am always willing to make a few exceptions and bust out the oil. I can’t think of a better occasion for it to be that kind of party than scoring some squash or zucchini blossoms.
Speaking of party, we’re going to Boston today to see fireworks with some friends. To all of my fellow Americans (north, south, east west!), Happy 4th of July!! This is my crappy attempt at a photo of myself looking ‘festive’.