This recipe of baked stuffed zucchini blossoms came out of my kitchen unexpected. Last week I gave my first intensive two days cooking class in Cervo. My guest was Julie, an American personal chef travelling Italy in search of inspiration. There were tough days of cooking, she were here to learn as much as possible so we cooked like mad. Not only the recipes I planned to teach her but almost all the recipe I had mentioned by chance cheating.
One of these are stuffed zucchini blossoms. Early in the morning we went to pick up some extra virgin olive oil at the farmer’s who takes care of our small family olive grove. He had had just harvested some zucchini blossoms, actually the blossoms of “trombette” (trumpet, literally), a special variety of climbing summer squash which grows here in Liguria. When I saw them in the box, so sunny, I just commented: “Mmmm, these would be perfect stuffed and baked!” And Julie jumped up smiling and asked: “can we prepare them for lunch? I usually fry them and never had them baked!”.
So we went back home with my small 500 car full of extra virgin olive oil cans and a box of shining trombette blossoms.
Luckily I had packed the pantry and the fridge in view of the cooking class, the fresh herbs were already in the garden, so all the ingredients for the recipe were at our disposal.
The recipe of this baked stuffed zucchini blossoms is fairly easy and quick to prepare. The ingredients for the filling are simple: smashed potatoes, eggs, parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, which give the distinct flavour to the dish. As Julie loved marjoram, we used more marjoram then parsley, for a more flowery taste. You can also add nutmeg, very very few though.
Indeed, I love playing with herbs and spices, improvising each time. I should have inherited this from my granny, who rarely followed recipes and mainly those of other regional cuisines.
In the end, July and I cooked in my small kitchen in Cervo (which is by the way without dish washer…) for two days almost continuously, fed many people (I invited friends for lunch and dinner as there would have been a lot to eat) and had a lot of fun.
I, by my side, also learned a lot. Having a professional chef cooking in my kitchen is not only a honour but also an opportunity to learn (for example, in my case, how to keep spotless your apron after 8 hours cooking…).
With this post I wish also to share with you also a good news. I was featured on The Guardian last week!! I’m so happy and honoured. I had the journalist, Liz Boulter, for a pesto lesson few weeks ago. We prepared pesto in my terrace, it was a hot but wind day, and spent the lunch discussing about Genoa and its history. She was so curious about everything and I was so happy to have the possibility to share with someone my passion for Genoa and tell its magnificent story and glorious past. I wished to be mentioned in the article she was preparing but I didn’t even dare to say it. And now here it is! YES!
- 3 medium size potatoes
- 3 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, plus some extra for greasing the baking pan
- 10 zucchini blossoms
- 4 eggs
- 3 spoons of ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon of marjoram leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh Italian (flat) parsley, minced
- fine sea salt to taste
- 1 cup fine unflavoured bread crumbs
- Wash the potatoes, put them with their peel into a pot filled with cold water and boil for about 35 minutes or until tender. Drain, peel and mash still hot.
- Put the potatoes in a bowl, add 2 eggs, the ricotta cheese, the parmesan cheese, the marjoram leaves and the parsley. Stir, taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Clean the zucchini blossoms under the water, remove the inner pistil with a pair of scissors being careful not to brake the corolla.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cover a baking pan with baking paper and pour some olive oil to grease.
- Beat two eggs in a soup plate and pour the bread crumbs in a large plate.
- One by one fill the zucchini blossom with the potatoes filling (you can use a sac-a-poche to help you), dredge in the beaten egg, shaking off the excess, dust evenly with the bread crumbs and lay in the pan.
- Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive and salt. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the surface is golden. Serve hot or warm.
With Julie we cooked so many dishes. Among the others we baked a green beans tart, with the just harvested green beans we bought from Anna, and fried some sage as apetizer (a good recipe of fried sage is the one of Giulia writing Juls’ kitchen)
We prepared linguine with basil pesto and handmade pansotti with walnuts sauce. We also prepared Genoese meat ravioli. I have not published the recipe yet but will soon. For the time being you can have a look at the recipe this ravioli recipe. which is quite accurate.
We also prepared a savory pie, with trombette zucchini (the recipe is the same as that of artichoke pie, just change the veggie hero), some mixed stuffed vegetables and Ligurian braised rabbit (both recipes are missing, I have to amend quickly, I know!)
If you want to discover something more on Genoese cuisine, have a look at his old article written on the New York Times “A Cuisine of Humble Origin“, it’s very interesting and accurate (though part of the restaurants therein mentioned does not exist anymore!).
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