I still consider zucchini flowers to be a delicacy, a treat that is only around for a fleeting time each year.
And so far in my life, it’s been a treat that I would have on occasion at Italian restaurants; zucchinis and balconies do not mix very well…
A few weeks ago, I found some zucchini flowers at the local green grocer but they looked so sad I doubted that they would make it home, let alone survive while I hunted around for a recipe.
And even though there are some lovely farmers’ markets that I like to visit, I have found that being on friendly terms with your green grocer is still quite advantageous.
All I had to do was ask nicely and promise to be back the following weekend. I returned to the grocer to find it positively stuffed full of fresh zucchini flowers, and I walked away with enough to make many, many stuffed zucchini flowers.
Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Herbs and Rice
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil (plus extra for cooking)
- 1small brown onion (finely diced)
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh dill (finely chopped)
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh mint (finely chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 125ml tomato passata
- 50ml water
- 100g medium grain Calrose rice (or medium grain arborio rice)
- 20 zucchini flowers with baby zucchini attached
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until almost tender. Add the dill and mint, and mix well.
- Add the cumin, pepper, salt, tomato passata and water. Increase heat to high, bring to a simmer and add the rice.
- Cover and lower heat to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Lightly oil the base of a large baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
- With your fingers, very carefully pull out the inside stamen of each zucchini flower (taking extra care not to rip the petals).
- Using a teaspoon, carefully add some rice mixture into the flower, very gently close the petals over the rice and place it in baking dish. Fill all the flowers and place them side by side in the baking dish to fit snugly.
- Drizzle some olive oil over the zucchini flowers, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add water in the tray to 1cm in depth.
- Bake the zucchini flowers for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the zucchini are tender. Serve with a crisp salad.
Recipe by Susie Rerakis as found on the SBS Food website.