Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Cooking Tip of the Week (7/24/2011)

Posted by Bill Abruzzo on July 27, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Zucchini Blossoms are a Unique and Tasty Snack

In Italy, zucchini blossoms are a favorite springtime treat.  At the daily produce markets, they are sold by the dozens in neatly tied bouquets. What a beautiful sight!   Unfortunately, zucchini blossoms are very difficult, if not impossible, to find here in the US. Unless, of course, you have zucchini plants growing in your vegetable garden. If you do, then here are a few tips on how to prepare them.

Each zucchini plant has both male and female blossoms. The female blossoms grow from the end of juvenile zucchinis. The male blossoms grow from long slender stems. Both blossoms are edible. To prepare them, simply remove the pistils from the female blossoms and the stamens from the male blossoms.  Then, rinse the blossoms under gently running cool water. Be sure to handle them with care, as they are delicate and will easily bruise or tear.

There are a variety of  ways to cook zucchini blossoms. They can be shredded and tossed with sauteed zucchini, cooked in an omelet, or stuffed with cheese and then dipped in batter and deep fried.  For a fun snack your children will love, dip them in egg, dredge them in flour, deep fry them until crisp and golden and hit them with a sprinkle of salt. They are hands down better than potato chips or french fries! 

Categories: Cooking Tips

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Reply Bill Abruzzo
2:16 AM on August 10, 2011 
Sure! In the weeks to come, I will fit in a recipe for stuffed zucchini blossoms. I made them twice last year. This year, however, we have been travelling and otherwise busy, so I have been cooking them up in a quick omelet or frying them. The omelet is easy. Just, brush your frying pan with olive oil, open the blossoms, place them on the bottom of the frying pan, season with salt and black pepper, press the blossoms down with the spatula until they sizzle, sprinkle over some grated parm cheese, and then pour over 3 eggs beaten with with some chopped parley. Let the egg set and then flip. Its done in another 30 secs Delizioso! Give it a try.
Reply Joe D.
1:10 AM on August 2, 2011 
Very interesting idea. Can someone post a few some recipes?

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I offer private cooking classes for up to six people. Cooking classes are held in my home on Saturday evenings. I specialize in all aspects of Italian regional cuisine, including soups, vegetables, pasta, risotto, meat, seafood and desserts. I will design a cooking class around whatever interests you –whether it is a specific recipe you wish to learn or a skill such as pasta-making. For more details, please take a minute to become a member of my website and contact me via internal email at . 

Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

Just Picked From My Italian Vegetable Garden!

 Zucchini Blossoms 

My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

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