Wednesday, July 14, 2010

zucchini gratin and fried blossoms

our garden is bursting at the seam
the zucchini is dutifully turning out lots of squash
even more flowers
i used both of them for our dinner tonight
and now
am bursting at the seam
zucchini gratin
(printable recipe)
this recipe is my version of a wonderful eggplant gratin that ina garten makes
olive oil for frying
3 or 4 small-ish zucchini sliced 1/4" thick (you want to make 2 layers in your baking dish)
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup evaporated milk (you can use milk, half and half or cream)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
handful of fresh basil, torn or cut into chiffonade
salt and pepper
1/2-3/4 cup marinara sauce (ina uses bottled and so why shouldn't you?)
heat the oven to 375.  heat the olive oil in a skillet...put enough to cover the pan and then another glug or two.  once the oil is hot, place the zucchini in batches in the oil and fry until they lightly brown. drain on paper towels.
in a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta 1/2 cup grated parmesan, egg, milk, basil a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.  
in the bottom of a small gratin or baking dish, place a bit of the marinara sauce. just put enough to discourage sticking.  layer the zucchini in two layers. sprinkle a bit of parmesan in between the layers of zucchini.  top the zucchini with more sauce.  you can be light or heavy handed here..whatever you like. i like sauce, so i have a heavy hand.  pour the ricotta cheese mixture on top and then sprinkle a bit more parmesan on top...just a light dusting.  bake for about 30 minutes until it is bubbling and beginning to brown.  let cool about 15 minutes before serving and eating.
but wait
there's more
this is the bonus round
fiori fritti
(printable recipe)
a summer staple in any self-respecting italian household
zucchini flowers--cleaned and destemmed
the possibilities are endless
you can use nothing or you can fill with
mozzarella cheese
ricotta cheese
manchego cheese
artichoke pate
or cheese and
sundried tomatoes
olive tapanade
..and many more

today i used a bit of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil
place in the middle of the flower and then fold the flower to cover completely
and you are ready to dip and fry
make the batter:
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup sparkling water
2-3 ice cubes
more salt for sprinkling on the fried goodies when they come out of the oil
whisk together the flour, egg, salt, pepper and sparkling water.  add the ice cubes and place in the fridge while you heat the oil and prepare the flowers. the trick for a crispy batter is to have it very cold.

place about 6" of vegetable oil in a sturdy pot---careful to leave another 3-4" from the top of the oil to the top of the pan for safety.

dip the stuffed flowers in the batter and let the excess run off.  fry in the hot oil until begins to brown and is quite crispy.
*i also dipped and fried some sage leaves and a few small zucchini


  1. Wow, I never knew you could eat the flower from the zucchini. That's fascinating. Great Z post and a lot of interesting recipes over these weeks.

  2. Everything looks delicious!

  3. I also used Zucchini as my Z this week. Your recipes look yummy. If I have eggplant this year, only a bloom and no fruit yet, can I just substitute it in this recipe? I had my post ready on Tuesday night because I was going away Wednesday so I could quick attach it latter tonight. You still beat me to the Zucchini!

  4. I am going to really miss your a to z recipes......What I love about them is they are fairly easy to make.......I appreciate that and the good taste!

  5. Seriously? Fry the blooms? How do they taste? I've GOT to try this! Thanks for the idea!

  6. That looks sooooo good, I'm not a huge eggplant fan, so I like the idea of subbing zucchini & I've always wanted to try those flowers :-)

  7. This sounds delicious, and looks beautiful. I might be able to get my husband to eat zucchini with this recipe :) Will you be doing colors of the rainbow recipes? That would be fun! Kat

  8. Cheese makes most anything taste better!

  9. Oh yum.
    I am a big fan of zucchini, and the flowers are tasty.

  10. Great yummy post – as always! Will try the zucchini flower recipe tonight.

    It’s been great reading yr lovely recipes over the past 26 weeks!

    Have a great weekend,


    PS Mine this time is HERE. Hope you can join me!

  11. Very cool! I had heard that the flowers on zucchini were edible, but never knew how they were prepared!

  12. Both of your recieps look really good. Thanks for sharing them.I started this journey late...w to be exact. Hope you have a great week. Debbie

  13. Oh - that all looks and sounds delicious. I'll definitely be trying the Zucchini au gratin - I have some of IG's cookbooks, but just in case, I'll bookmark this recipe here!

  14. Uh oh. Must be time to take a break from reading and go make dinner because this post totally made me drool!

    Yum. The au gratin sounds scrumptious. IG is one of my favorite TV shows.

    Thanks for linking up this scrumptious post to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "Z".

    You always have a treat for us!

    Thank you!


  15. Happy Summer to you! The zucchini gratin looks wonderful. Squash in the summer is the gift that keeps on giving :-)

  16. Wow, the zucchini gratin and fiori fritti look dee-licious! Thanks for sharing!

  17. the bonus recipe looks amazing ... geez, now if only i had a garden ...

  18. Nice! It's always great to see new uses for zucchini since once it starts growing it seems impossible to keep up with it!

  19. I'd love to try the recipe with the flowers. I am so envious. When we lived in Virginia Beach we always had a vegetable garden and I had zucchini galore! Here my yard is just about all shade (which we need because of the heat) and I long ago gave up having a garden. Both recipes look delicous!

  20. Love learning...
    trying new things (safe ones) LOL
    Delighted to know about the z's edible nature!!

  21. I have fond memories of making stuffed zucchini flowers at a cooking course in France. So delicate! It was a challenge! ~ Sarah


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