By Joanne DiBona for USA TODAY 10Best

How to make stuffed zucchini blossoms, Sicilian-style

On our first trip to Sicily to discover our family roots, we noticed the local markets were filled with huge yellow flowers, and we were curious as to what could be made of these lovely blooms.

Our relatives gave us a step-by-step tutorial in how to stuff and fry zucchini blossoms, and we’ve continued this tradition in our home kitchen for decades.

If you plant zucchini or other squash varieties, you may have noticed that the flowers grow both on a single stem (male), as well as on the developing squash (female).

The male flowers are the ones to pick for this recipe, but even the female ones with a small developing zucchini are tasty.

If you’re not a gardener, an Internet search for "where to find zucchini flowers" in your town or city should yield positive results. They are available all summer at farmers and specialty markets.

While these flowers can be battered and fried on their own, our Sicilian family recommended we stuff them for best results. And like our family, we don't follow a recipe; we just cook from the heart.

Photo by Tony DiBona

Start with goat cheese, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and/or burrata (in equal proportions depending on how many flowers you have to stuff), then add some fresh cream to make the mixture a bit more liquid.

Next, blend in chopped parsley, chives, a bit of crushed garlic and sea salt (the Sicilian town of Trapani is known around the world for its salt, by the way).

Photo by Joanne DiBona

Once they are stuffed, the Sicilian technique is to just twist the top of the flower shut and lightly compress the blossoms so that they are as flat as possible without losing their filling.

Dip them in egg (we also sometimes use heavy cream) and coat them gently in breadcrumbs.

Use organic, extra-virgin, cold-extracted olive oil for frying. You won’t need much, just enough to coat the crumbs.

Gently fry the blossoms on low heat until the crumbs take on a golden glow; turn and repeat the process. It just takes a few minutes on each side, so make sure you keep your eye on the pan!

Photo by Joanne DiBona

These blossoms will melt in your mouth. The creamy cheese stuffing enhances the flavor of the delicate flowers to produce a culinary match made in heaven.

Photo by Joanne DiBona

You don’t have to travel across the globe to unearth tried and true culinary secrets and interesting recipes, though. Interview the cooks in your family and take note of how they create their favorite dishes.

Read more at USA TODAY 10Best

Read the article
Read the article