Makes 24 flowers; serves 8 as a side dish
The recipe is from Mario Batali, who says:
In this recipe, I don't stuff the blossom (be sure to remove the stamens) with the typical soft cheese. Instead, I use a combination of grated Parmigiano and herbs. But not so much that it overpowers the subtlety of the flower.
Most often stuffed, battered and fried or baked, squash blossoms are similarly delicious when eaten raw. Add to a summer salad for a subtle herb flavor and, of course, a hint of orange.
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24 fresh open zucchini flowers grown for eating (minus the stamens)
3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup finely slivered fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pick through the zucchini flowers to remove the stamens and check for bugs.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the Parmigiano, thyme, basil and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
Using a small teaspoon, stuff each blossom with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano mixture. Set them aside.
In a 14-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking.
Place 6 flowers in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Place them on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining flowers.
Arrange the fried zucchini flowers on a platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.