Squashin’ Your Zucchini

One of my favorite veIMG_1125getables that I grow in my garden, aside from tomatoes, is zucchini (both are actually fruit).  They grow quickly, they don’t need a lot of upkeep and each plant produces quite a good amount of squash and flowers within a couple months.  The downside is that the plants grow so large they tend to overshadow other plants.  If I forget to harvest them they can grow considerably, to the point of turning pretty much tasteless and full of water.  To me a good cooking size is about 8-10 inches. Take a peek at this link to find more interesting facts about zucchini.

Another pro is the fact that you can eat the flowers, not many plants give you the opportunity to use the flower and the vegetable they produce (the zucchini itself is the overgrown bulb of the flower) for consumptioIMG_0270n.  I grew up looking forward to summer months in Italy where I would eat deep-fried zucchini blossom.  My mom used to stuff them with mozzarella and a tiny sliver of anchovy; dip them in egg batter and fry.  The oozing cheese flowing out on the first crunchy bite and the anchovy zing spreading through my palate is a pleasure I still, once in a while,  concede to.   Another easy frying technique is to flour the flowers, dip them in ice beer+water (for the extra crunch) before frying.

I love the versatility of zucchini: boiled, stewed, roasted, grilled, baked, steamed, braised and fried.  I’ve also seen them experimented through the full spectrum of meal courses, even in desserts (sweet zucchini bread, anyone)!  My personal favorite: risotto with zucchini and blossoms; you can make it decadent by adding lobster meat and/or pancetta. Use my simple braised zucchini recipe on my recipe page and develop your own risotto!