There are certain fruits and vegetables that are so delicate and elusive that every year when I do have a chance to get my hands on them, I feel like it’s the biggest gift ever.
This winter has been tough on local crops and the wait for the arrival of the much beloved zucchini blossoms has been endless. Every weekend I would go to the farmers market and inquire the farmer about them. “Not yet, maybe next week”, he kept saying week after week. I would even call a few days before so I knew what to expect and to have the rest of my ingredients ready for when the much anticipated blossoms arrived.
Even my friend D. who also goes to the farmers market religiously was so intrigued by these little flowers. She had never seen or heard of them and was curious to taste what I was so enthusiastic about.
A couple of Sundays ago, we arrived early and waited and waited for the second delivery van to arrive. If you have ever held a zucchini blossom in your hand, you know how delicate they are and must be picked right before selling them or cooking with them otherwise they wilt quickly. We stood there first in line to get the best of the pick and laid them carefully on a tray to bring them home.
We decided to stuff them with a brown rice couscous, sauteed shiitakes, herbs and goat cheese mixture. Then quickly browned them in olive oil and finished them with a splash of lemon juice and a dab of butter. We had some leftover for the next day so I made a quick tart with goat cheese and the blossoms for my mom inspired by my dear friend Penny‘s cover of Saveur magazine. We loved them and what a way to begin Spring.
Brown Rice Couscous, Goat Cheese and Shiitake Zucchini Blossoms
12 zucchini blossoms
1 cup cooked brown rice couscous or quinoa
1/4 cup shiitakes, sauteed in olive oil
1 Tbs goat cheese, crumbled
1 Tbs parsley, chopped
1 Tbs basil, chopped
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic
2 Tbs Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbs butter
Mix together the cooked couscous, cooked shiitakes, goat cheese, fresh herbs. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and taste it. Adjust seasoning.
Stuff the blossoms with about 1-2 tsp of the mixture and roll the tops to seal in the filling.
Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan. Cook the garlic clove slowly until it infuses the oil and then remove it. Brown the stuffed zucchini blossoms for about 1 minute on each side. Add the lemon juice. Turn the heat off and add the butter. Swirl the pan to create a bit of a sauce. Serve immediately.