Friday, May 18, 2012

Zucchini Blossom Stir-fry with Jasmine Rice

It’s the season of zucchini (or courgette) blossoms!!! These are the edible flowers of zucchinis and they are absolutely beautiful and delicious! There are quite a few traditional Greek and Cypriot recipes that i know of with zucchini flowers: Stuffed with rice or cracked wheat, in pies, simply fried, stuffed with cheese and then fried (but that’s a bit heavy and they really lose much of their delicate taste). In the island of Crete some do a variation of the traditional dish ‘dolmades’ (small parcels of vine leaves stuffed with long grain rice and fresh herbs, or with rice and minced meat), in which instead of using just vine leaves they wrap half the parcels in zucchini blossoms and they let them cook all together. Actually, you can stuff them with anything you like, quinoa or other grains, nuts, mushrooms, minced meat etc or you can add them in an omelette.

I went to the grocery store the other day and came across the freshest zucchini blossoms, I was thrilled!!! I really didn’t have the time for a time-consuming recipe (although I love them stuffed!) and I really didn’t want to leave them in the fridge for a day, because they would definitely lose that freshness. I decided to cook them in a way that they would be just lightly stir fried and hardly even cooked. So I looked in my fridge and had some spicy chilies (always!), spring onions, fresh coriander in my balcony and some garlic. Served it with jasmine rice and it was just perfect! Light, healthy and super tasty! Here is the recipe:

15 fresh zucchini blossoms washed and dried
1 chili pepper (or more if you like it more spicy)
1 garlic clove minced
4 spring onions chopped
3 zucchinis cut into even strips
1 red (sweet) pepper sliced
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Steamed jasmine rice (or any rice you like)

Wash the zucchini flowers and pat them dry. You can remove the stem if you wish, but when they are so fresh, I like to use them whole as they are.  With your hands, tear each blossom in half or into three smaller pieces, it’s up to you. Remove the seeds from the chili pepper and chop or slice it. Heat the oil in a wok or pan. Add the garlic, spring onion and chili. Sauté them gently and add the red pepper and zucchini strips, stirring constantly. Add the blossoms and some salt and cayenne pepper and keep on stirring for another couple of minutes. Once you see the flowers are starting to soften, throw in half the chopped coriander and give it another stir. If you can’t find coriander you can always replace it with parsley or mint (or both!). Serve it with jasmine rice and sprinkle on top the rest of the chopped coriander. You can decorate your dish with some coriander flowers, which are also in season now! 

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