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Friday, July 10, 2015

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and Baked Zucchini Chips

So it just didn't make sense not to post these two recipes together.  Not only is it fun to use up the entire plant all at once, but it's also nice to add something a little more out of the ordinary and a bit indulgent to the weekday norm.  I was given beautiful zucchini blossoms in my CSA bag today along with more zucchini.  So let's just use it all.  If I had a restaurant, this would be listed as "zucchini two ways" on my menu.  I sliced up the zucchinis, stuffed the flowers, tossed everything in some parmesan and breadcrumbs, and voila...I wish this happened every makes me so happy.  If you have a mandolin, the zucchini chips are insanely easy to do, and since I already had some goat cheese mixed with herbs from something else I had done earlier, the stuffing for the blossoms was a no-brainer.  You could easily use ricotta, mozzarella, and basil in place of the goat cheese, cheddar, and thyme...really whatever kind of cheese and herbs you have on hand will totally work.  You could also crack a beer and make a batter from that and some flour to make for a puffier crust.  The whole point of this is to use what you have in a way that is easy and enjoyable.  My summer is most enjoyable when I cook things I love, but not if I'm spending the rest of my waking hours running back and forth from a supermarket and spending money on six different types of cheese every day.  Nor do I want to make a complete mess of my kitchen with a thousand different tools and ingredients every single day.  I made both of these dishes without a recipe and using only what I had on hand.  I'm sure there is room for improvement and I'm sure different variations would be equally good, maybe better - but both came out incredibly good and I would change nothing.  I ate all of the stuffed blossoms myself since Adrienne is a five year old and Jim is also a five year old - I'm kidding - he's actually just paranoid because he's allergic to pollen and so he thinks he will be allergic to zucchini blossoms.  More for me!  I'll tell you, I can't wait to make these again.  I would definitely do an Italian spin and have some marinara perhaps for dipping.  My mouth just watered.

**As a warning...I eyeballed all of the measurements listed below for the stuffed blossoms as I was cooking, so be willing to use more or less if you feel it's not working exactly as I've written.  You may want more stuffing if your blossoms are bigger - or less if they're smaller.  You may want a different ratio of cheese.  This is a great dish to make without a be brave.  Why did I give measurements at all then?  Just to give an idea for people who may not have any idea of where to start.  I hope it helps a little.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

6 zucchini blossoms, insides removed and rinsed gently
4 oz soft goat cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
canola oil for frying

Combine the goat cheese, cheddar, and herbs.  Divide evenly among the six blossoms, nudging the cheese inside gently.  Press the blossoms around the cheese so they stay relatively closed.  Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Dip each blossom in the egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture so that they are coated evenly.  Fill a cast iron pan an inch deep with canola oil. Heat over medium until very hot. (Drip some water in the oil and if it immediately sizzles, the oil is ready.)  Place the blossoms in the pan and allow to cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook another 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown on the other side.

And now for the healthier option...baked zucchini chips.  Same breadcrumb mixture, different cooking method.

Baked  Zucchini Chips

1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced thin (or 2 smaller ones)
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450.  In a bowl, combine zucchini slices, olive oil, salt and pepper.  In a large ziplock bag, mix the parmesan and bread crumbs.  Add the zucchini slices a few at a time, shaking as you go, removing the slices to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Repeat with more of the zucchini slices until you're all done.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.


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