Zucchini flowers, or squash blossoms (for culinary purposes these are interchangeable), are one of those off-the-supermarket-beaten-path ingredients you tend to find only at farmers’ markets or fancy restaurants. (Or Italy, though that doesn’t really help most of us all that much.)
This elusiveness means that if you do come into a supply – either because you’ve lucked into some at the market, or by growing them yourself – it may not be entirely clear just what to do with the darn things.
On menus, zucchini blossoms most often show up stuffed with cheese and deep-fried. Now, far be it from us to decry such a fantastic use of nature’s bounty, but this isn’t necessarily the best option for the home cook. Deep frying requires a lot of oil and, if you’re only doing a small batch, is rather wasteful. Not to mention that deep frying involves, well, a pot of boiling-hot fat, which is the sort of thing that can make a person hesitant about venturing into the kitchen.
Fortunately, there are other lovely things to do with the zucchini blossom. One in particular, retains the virtue of using lots of cheese, and also comes with the bonus of working for breakfast, lunch, or supper – the frittata. Frittatas are easier to make than omelettes, can be happily eaten hot out of the pan or at room temperature, and are deeply forgiving of substitutions.
This recipe was born of the love of zucchini blossoms, yes, but also a need to make good use of sundry bits and pieces lurking in corners of the fridge. We encourage you to take the same freewheeling approach: swap out chives for onions, sage for parsley, and leave out the garlic altogether, if that’s what your heart and pantry encourage.
Zucchini Blossom Frittata
(The recipe as given is for one person – multiply by as many as you want to serve, increasing your pan size to match.)
- small glug of olive oil
- 1 small clove of garlic, chopped
- a couple of green onions, sliced
- 3-4 zucchini blossoms, rinsed thoroughly
- a generous handful of parsley, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) milk, cream, leben, or plain yogurt
- salt and pepper
- small bit of soft cheese, like goat or feta
1. Put a small, oven-proof frying pan over medium heat, and preheat the broiler. While the skillet is warming, prepare the zucchini blossoms: remove the stamens or pistils from the centre using a paring knife or your fingernail, and slice each one in half crosswise.
Cut the bottoms into quarters, and leave the petals whole.
2. Slick the bottom of the pan with a bit of olive oil, and then toss in garlic and green onions; sauté for one minute. Add in the chopped bottoms of the blossoms, and sauté one minute more. Scatter zucchini blossom petals and chopped parsley in the pan.
3. Crack the eggs into a bowl and gently break them up with a fork. Pour in the milk/cream/whatever, and add in some some salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk very gently, and pour immediately into the hot skillet.
4. Let the eggs cooked undisturbed for about 4 minutes, until gently set. (Note: if you are multiplying this recipe to serve several people, once the frittata begins to set, gently lift the edges with a spatula to let some of the uncooked egg run underneath. If you’re only using two eggs, this won’t be necessary.)
5. Crumble the cheese over top of the eggs, and transfer skillet to the broiler for a minute or two, until the top of the frittata is lightly browned and the cheese begins to melt.
Note: zucchini flowers are highly perishable, and should be cooked the day you bring them home.