Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Chuck Hughes perfectly combines the freshness of zucchini flowers with rich ricotta cheese stuffing for this easy, yet impressive, appetizer.

Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes
Show: Chuck's Day Off Episode: Farmers
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 20 min
Prep: 40 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

STUFFING:
  • 2 cups/500ml soft ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup/250ml 35-percent cream
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 zucchini blossoms, pistils removed, gently washed and patted dry
MARINARA SAUCE:
  • 2 tablespoons/30ml olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12 tomatoes, blanched and peeled or 4 cups (1 liter) canned tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
VODKA BATTER:
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Directions

For the stuffing: Mix the ricotta, cream, chives, parsley, lemon zest and anchovy, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Using a piping bag, fill the blossoms with the stuffing. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to fry.

For the marinara sauce: Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Using a hand mixer, blend until the sauce is a coarse puree. Stir in the basil, chives and parsley.

For the vodka batter: Mix 1 cup/250 ml flour with the baking powder in a large bowl. Add the club soda and vodka and stir until smooth.

Heat the canola oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Dredge the stuffed zucchini blossoms in the remaining 1/2 cup/125ml flour, then coat with the batter. Fry until golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the fried blossoms hot with the marinara sauce.

Cook's Note: If you don't have zucchini blossoms, you can stuff mini bell peppers, tomatoes or mushrooms.

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