I have been traveling for the better part of two weeks. Luckily I had some time to come home, switch out suitcases and maintain the garden in between. This morning, after returning from my most recent excursion, I went out to harvest from the garden, filling my basket with tomatoes, eggplants and the silent wonder of my garden, the zucchini (that grows to amazing proportions in just a few days) along with the blossoms.
This year, I planted a variety of summer squash plants and only one survived, which is very odd. I tend to over do it in the spring, planting about five or six plants. There is a method to my madness, as much as I love the beautiful green zucchini, I am really after the delicate golden blossoms.
I go out in the early hours of the morning to harvest them at their peak. If I wait, even a few hours, they wilt and close down. I clean them, removing the stamen, make sure there are no bugs residing in the crevices and cover in anticipation of lunch or dinner.
Squash Blossoms stuffed with Goat Cheese is one of my all time favorite summer dishes. Serve it with a light tomato sauce, it is heavenly.
This method differs from my friends on the Amalfi Coast. After stuffing it they dip it into batter, fry it and serve it plain. In Rome, an anchovy is added to the stuffing, intensifying the flavor. I’m also intrigued by Francis Mays method of stuffing it with a potato filling that I read in the outstanding Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy, but I’ve not been able stray from my beloved cheese mixture.
I had never thought of having them on Pizza until I tried the fabulous Nancy Silverton’s Squash Blossom Pizza at Pizzaria Mozza. This inspired my imagination with infinite possibilities so I created Tostadas using the blossoms and they are stunning!
In Italy and Mexico the blossoms are readily available in the stores and open air markets. Here I have to grow my own. Granted, my harvest is a bit light this year, only having one plant but I am still grateful to have the golden prize and the amazing zucchini harvest that goes along with it.