My other find in the farmers market was baby zucchini with flowers.They were grown at Valdivia Farms located at Carlsbad in San Diego. Little did I know that they were so big and popular among the local chefs and restaurants. I came to know about it through a write up in San Diego Union Tribune's food edition last week. I was so excited that I actually knew from where my produce came and lets face it, how many times does one get to buy something and have an article in the paper about it. The photo below is the person who sold us the zucchini flowers and gave us a free box of cherry tomatoes.
Having bought the flowers, I had no idea as to what to do with them. In my search on the Internet, I found that they stuff the flowers coat them in the tempura batter and deep fry. As I don't like to fry too much I wanted something simple. The other thing I learnt about the flowers was that they have a male and female flower and the male flower is mostly used for frying. The one I had bought was the female flower because it had a baby zucchini attached to its base. In deciding to create something elegant with these flowers I came across Cook and Book blog where she had come up with a recipe inspired by Mario Batali's ,Fiori di zuccz Fritti ( Fried Zucchini Flowers with goat cheese). Since it was very simple I decided to follow this recipe with a few changes to the ingredients and using the dutch /appam pan to roast these flower purses. Thanks to Red chillies who first introduced this idea that I am so hooked on.
For using an ingredient like zucchini flowers that was not in my comfort zone,i learnt something new and found that it was good to experiment. I think this was the first most elegant and stylish dish I have ever prepared. I liked what I tasted, it was crunchy on the outside but very creamy on the inside. A must try if you are open to it.
My entry to Eating with the seasons event hosted by Maninas and WYF:Salad/Starters/Soups Event hosted by Simple Indian Food.
Dutch oven/Appam pan
Measuring cups and spoons.
Zucchini flowers - 12
Paneer mixed with thick yogurt/sour cream - 1 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves(paste)
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Pepper freshly ground
Red tomatoes - 1/2 pound cubed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Red Wine Vinegar - 1 1/2 tbsp
Basil Leaves - 4
1. Wash the flowers and remove the baby zucchini, stamens and any bugs from the flower and pat dry.
3. Spoon this mix about 1-2 tsp in the flower and wrap well and set aside.
4. In a blender add tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, basil leaves and a tsp salt and blend into a smooth paste, strain and set aside.
5. Heat the Dutch oven and add 1/2 tsp of oil in each and roast 12 flowers taking care to roast it on all sides to golden brown and crisp( I put the heat on med low and let it roast to become very crunchy on the outside).
6. Place 3 of these mini purses in a plate and drizzle some tomato dressing and serve hot.