Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

The zucchini plant gives two types of flowers; female and male. Females become zucchini, males do not bear fruit, they are only flowers. Flowers that bloom are alive in the morning, and close by noon.

If you are picking the zucchini flowers from your garden you have to get up early before they close their flowers. And while you are preparing the stuffing you can put the stems in cold water. I usually get up early and while the bees swarm the flowers I prepare the stuffing.

These beauties are the perfect addition to any Mediterranean-style platter of appetisers, perfect match for Raki tables.

Ingredients
12 zucchini flowers
2 large onions
2 tomatoes
1 cup of rice
1 cup of olive oil
half a bunch of dill
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt for taste
Hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

Holding a zucchini flower, use your thumbs to gently make a split in the flower. Use your fingertips to pluck and discard the yellow stamens in the center of the flower. Repeat with the remaining flowers.

Finely chop the onions and grate the tomatoes. Take the chopped onions in a pan and add half a cup of olive oil. Fry on medium low heat until soft. Add the grated tomatoes, wash and drain the rice and add to the onions. Add all the spices and add 1 cup of hot water. Bring to a high boil; cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add half a bunch of chopped dill.

When your stuffing has cooled enough, scoop a spoonful of rice mix into the center of each flower, then twist petal ends to enclose.

Arrange them side by side, separating the bottom of another shallow pan. Add lemon and orange juice to the pot and enough water to cover the stuffing. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the mixture. Cover with a plate and bring the pan to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat immediately. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue steaming until it cools to room temperature. Allow it to cool before trying to remove it from the pan, as it may disintegrate if removed while hot. Serve cold with extra lemon.

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