Baked Zucchini Blossoms with Mozzarella, Bread Crumbs, Anchovy, Mint & Mandarin Orange Zest
It's not often that I get given flowers by the ladies, but today, Nina at the market hall surprised me with these zucchini blossoms as a little present- how kind!
They were not in the best condition, granted, but the reason she did so and the reason I am telling the story and sharing a recipe with you- is because she knew I would still appreciate them- and I hope you will do the same too!
I tend to roll my eyes a little when I hear people claim they want "only the best" - I find that kind of snobbery, frankly unappetizing! If food is good food, surely that must be enough? I am talking about real food now, from a farmer or from a market... simple fruit and vegetables. If they are not laden with pesticides and have been grown naturally- so what if they have a bruise or blemish here or there? Let's keep it real, folks! Other people out there are starving- let's be thankful for what we have and make the most of it!
I added a ball of Mozzarella, a cupful of bread crumbs, a chili pepper, the zest of a small mandarin orange, a squeeze of anchovy past, a little fresh parsley and mint and some good olive oil to my zucchini blossoms... and turned them into something truly special and delicious!
You may have noticed that I like to prepare my zucchini blossom in the oven... it's true! You don't have to deep fry them! Too much fat, too much fuss and too much trouble... there are much easier... and just simply wonderful!
Dice the mozzarella and add it to the breadcrumbs, along with the chili pepper, the parsley and the mint- all very finely chopped! Add about a tablespoonful of anchovy paste and the mandarin orange zest, also finely shredded and mix together well.
Stir together until everything is evenly coated and the anchovy paste has been equally distributed. Add just a little salt and plenty of pepper and get ready to fill those flowers!
Snap the stamens out of the blossoms and then spoon in the mixture generously. Pinch the ends back together, squeeze the blossoms into shape and turn on your oven to 200°C to get ready for baking!
It will take 5-10 minutes to fill the blossoms, plenty of time for the oven get get ready for action!
Drizzle your tray lightly with olive oil, lay out the zucchini and drizzle them in turn with a little more oil... just a touch! Sprinkle the zucchini with sea salt- you want them to be tasty too... and pop them into the oven for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the filling will have begun to melt, but the bread crumbs bind the cheese together nicely and keep it from spilling out... gently flip the blossoms over and return them for a further 5-10 minutes until they are lovely and golden brown.
Delicious, surprisingly satisfying and filling- and an absolute treat! And just to think, others would have deemed them not good enough to put out on sale! Hah! Thanks again, Nina! :-)