If you have a vegetable garden, CSA, or if you have a good farmer’s market or organic market near you, you should definitely take advantage of Squash Flowers (squash blossoms). Lots of the classic treatments call for stuffing the flowers with a ricotta cheese mixture, battering them and frying them, but I have come up with a much healthier (and neater) preparation.
First a few comments about the flowers, and a short lesson in botany.
Squash plants have both male and female flowers. Bees and bugs collect the pollen from the male flowers and pollinate the female flowers which are the ones that produce the babies (of course). How do you tell the difference between the male and female squash flowers in your garden? The males have long stems, and the females have tiny fruits at the base, right from the beginning. The flowers only last for a couple of hours, and you have to pick them early in the morning. Pinch or cut them off with the stems attached, and put the stems right into water, as if they were a flower bouquet. Of course, they are a flower bouquet. They are VERY fragile, and bruise easily, but even if they are bruised, they will still be good in this recipe. NOTE: the blossoms must be picked carefully, because there can be BEES nestling in the flower, collecting all that important pollen, and other bugs are attracted to them also, so shake them out gently in the garden, and when you get them home, rinse them gently to remove any wildlife.
More info here
This is very much a use-what you have kind of preparation, and you can definitely riff on the herbs etc.
Take a couple of slices of good whole wheat bread, and crumble it up in a bowl with 1/2 cup of milk or almond or soy milk. Allow to soak while you prepare the vegetables.
into your food processor (or on your chopping board)
1 small onion
2 big garlic cloves
1 small zucchini or other squash
1/4 cup or so of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives etc.
a medium tomato
process till chopped.
put mixture in a frying pan with a couple Tsp. of olive oil and saute till soft. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Stir in a beaten egg, and the soaked bread (squeeze out any excess liquid). Reserve.
Gently open the flowers, gently pull out the stamen (well, yeah, the male sex part), and pinch off the stem and any attached green parts.
Film a baking pan with a bit of olive oil.
Using a small spoon, stuff the flowers with the stuffing mixture. Don’t worry if the flowers tear a bit, just put in the stuffing and close the flower around it, making a cute little flower package.
Arrange the flowers in the baking dish, and drizzle with additional olive oil, and a bit of tomato sauce if you have some.
Bake about 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven until browned and glazed with deliciousness.
Serve hot or warm. Can make ahead.
You can use the same mixture to stuff halves of tomatoes (squeeze out the seeds and drain a bit upside down), small eggplants, small zucchini.
Feel free to add some grated parmesan or other cheese, if you do this, sprinkle some on the top also.
Add pignoli nuts.