Bruschetta with stuffed and baked zucchini blossoms are one of my favourite summer recipes. Easy to prepare, exceptionally tasty and an absolute eye-catcher on any table.
Italy in bloom
If you have ever been to southern Italy in the summer, you have probably tried them: crisp, fresh, deep-fried zucchini and squash blossoms. Straight from the friggitoria, they are now a popular street food and the perfect snack to satisfy your hunger between meals. They complement the summery diversity of Italian cuisine not only with their taste, but also with important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Cuisine rich in flowers
Italian cuisine is rich in dishes whose basic ingredient is an edible flower. Think, for example, of stem cabbage or artichokes. We especially love squash and zucchini blossoms, perhaps because they have a relatively short season and taste wonderful when very fresh. Squash blossoms have a more intense colour and a more distinctive fragrance. They are popular steamed for risotto and pasta or used in savoury pies. Zucchini flowers are often deep fried or baked in the oven as well.
Careful when picking flowers
If you yourself have a vegetable garden with zucchini plants, you should distinguish between male flowers (thin stalk) and female, which are at the top of the fruit. If you pick all the female flowers, you will not have any zucchini later. The same thing happens if you do not leave male flowers for pollination. Only pick closed blossoms. This will help with stuffing and further preparation. Always handle the flowers carefully.
Original Jewish-Roman recipe
After their expulsion from Spain (1492), many Jews found a new home in Rome and soon influenced the local cooking tradition. For example, the method of deep frying popular in Italy is attributed to the Jewish-Spanish immigrants – as is the recipe for Roman zucchini and squash blossoms. They are stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, then breaded in mineral water and flour and fried in oil. A similar recipe is found in Campania and Calabria. However, the filling of the blossoms varies from village to village.
Zucchini blossoms bruschetta
- 6 slices bread, homemade
- 6 small zucchini, length and thickness of an index finger
- 6 zucchini or squash blossoms, closed
For the filling
- 100 g ricotta
- 75 g goat cheese, creamy
- 50 g Parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pesto
For the topping
- 2 handful Parmesan, grated
- 2 handful breadcrumbs
- olive oil, extra virgin
- Pre-heat the oven to 200° C. For the filling, mix all ingredients until creamy and season with salt and pepper. Place the filling in a piping bag.
- Wash the closed flowers carefully in order not to damage them. If they are from your own garden, possibly just wipe them damp. Using the tip of a knife to cut out the base of the flower and remove the pistil. The flower will be filled through the resulting small opening.
- Now place the flowers side by side in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the blossoms in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice the zucchini and fry them without oil in a coated pan. They should look like they are lightly grilled. Five minutes before the flowers are ready, lightly fry the bread in a skillet.
- Brush the bread slices with olive oil and top with the zucchini. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally, place the baked flowers on top of the bread and zucchini and serve immediately, while still warm.