Zucchini Blossoms with Pesto Salmon

Summer isn’t over yet! Zucchini blossoms have just arrived in the market. Last weekend I went to the Union Square farmers market where I spotted these gorgeous flowers. While I was standing there and thinking about how I’ll cook them I noticed a lady next to me was buying tons of them. I figured she’d be the best person to ask how do you cook these beauties! She gladly gave me couple of different ideas but said her favorite method was to stuff them with herbed ricotta cheese and shallow fry them in a simple AP (all-purpose flour) batter with sparkling water.

So, that’s exactly what I did! I picked up some fresh herbs and local ricotta cheese and quickly came home to start my culinary adventure. While I was stuffing the flowers I could barely stop eating the herbed ricotta cheese. It turned out amazing! However, stuffing the flowers was more challenging than I thought. The petals are extremely delicate to say the least. Hence, you need to be very gentle when stuffing them. I ripped the first few here and there but eventually I got the hang of it. I didn’t think of it then but I should’ve used a piping bag to make life easier. Anyways, the results were these delightful creamy, velvety, and crispy flowers that tasted like heaven. My husband was so ecstatic to see a pretty lunch waiting for him when he returned home after playing golf all morning! Without further delay, here’s the recipe;

Ingredients

Herbed Ricotta Cheese

½ Cup Fresh Ricotta Cheese and more as desired
2 T Fresh Herbs – You can use your favorite but I loved this combo;
Rosemary
Thyme
Oregano
Basil
1 t lemon zest
Salt & fresh ground pepper as per taste

8 Fresh Zucchini blossoms – It’s best to eat them fresh therefore, avoid storing them

Sparkling water batter

¾ Cup AP
¾ Cup cold sparkling water
1 egg, light beaten
Oil for frying

Pesto Salmon

Refer to my previous post on pesto sauce but make it with roasted raw almonds this time.

2 4-ounces Salmon Fillets, skin removed
2-3 Lemon peels

Summer Salad

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
Sanditas – looks like tiny watermelon and tastes like cucumber with a hint of sourness. Another one of my new findings at the market!
Pea shoots and arugula salad

Basic salad dressing

Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt & Pepper

Directions

Herbed Ricotta Cheese

  1. Combine all ingredients with the back of the spoon and taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.
  2. Fill the herbed cheese in a piping bag or even a Ziploc® would work fine. Just make sure to put the pastry tip first in either case.
  3. Alternatively you use can fingers and a tiny spoon to stuff, if you are up for a real challenge.
  4. Keep it in the fridge till ready to use.

Next, Prepare the blossoms 

  1. Carefully rinse each flower and towel dry only if need be otherwise I would avoid that.
  2. Take out the stuffing from the fridge and stuff all the blossoms ever so gently and pinch the top to secure the stuffing. Do not overstuff.

 Next, start cooking the salmon

  1. Heat up a medium non-stick pan on fairly high heat with a T of vegetable oil and wait for the pan to heat up. The pan should be hot but not smoky.
  1. Take out the fillets from the fridge and dry any moisture on the fish with a paper towel. This step ensures a perfect brown sear! Now, generously sprinkle salt all over the fillets and place flesh side down into the pan. You should hear a sizzle! Cook for 4 minutes on medium heat.

While you wait, place another pan on the stove on low heat for shallow frying the blossoms.

  1. Next, slide a fish spatula underneath the fish gently and if it resists then give it another minute or two. Then turn the fish on the other side and lower the heat all the way, add lemon peels and cover with a lid. Let it cook for another 5 minutes and then turn off the gas. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and spoon pesto sauce on top when ready to serve.

Next, make the Summer Salad dressing and put the salad in a bowl 

  1. But first turn up the heat a little bit to make sure the oil is ready for frying
  2. Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
  3. Lightly whisk all the dressing ingredients, set aside.

Lastly, shallow fry the Blossoms

  1. Check on oil to make sure it’s not smoking and then make the batter by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. It will foam up because of the sparkling water but it’ll subside.
  2. Dip each flower into the batter and let any excess to drip off.
  3. Shallow fry all of them for about 2 minutes or until crispy without overcrowding the pan. Drain on paper towel.

Prepare the plates and serve while the flowers and everything else is hot.

One thought on “Zucchini Blossoms with Pesto Salmon

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