It’s hard to see zucchini flowers available for sale and not day dream of running home as quickly as possible to stuff and fry them.
Chew Town has certainly featured its fair share of stuffed zucchini flower recipes over the past few years, so when faced with two boxes of these floral sunlight-esue beauties recently, I resisted the extremely strong urge to continue the stuffing trend and instead worked on two recipes for you featuring the tantalising zucchini flower un-stuffed.
This Zucchini Flower Rice Salad offers up an option to serve zucchini flowers (and their Zucchini attached cousins) in a wonderfully fresh and fragrant rice salad providing a much healthier option and a great way to enjoy the petals fresh. The perfect side to upsize your happy meal. The next time I’m invited to “bring a salad”, this is definitely going to be it. Unbelievably quick and easy (despite its list of ingredients) it is seriously impressive as a final product.
Basmati rice is the rice grain of choice in my rice salads as it is a drier rice with its grains remaining separate when cooked – the resulting rice still both light and fluffy. But, this salad would still be great made with jasmine if that’s all you have at hand.
The next zucchini flower recipe to follow in a couple weeks features them on top of a homemade pizza base which is another great way to enjoy them. But, they are just as good stirred through a spring pasta with blanched asparagus, snow peas an a little extra virgin olive oil.
So, if you see zucchini flowers in the shop and pass them by thinking the only way to serve them is stuffed and fried, don’t forget they can be enjoyed in a myriad of great ways.
Zucchini Flower Rice Salad
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
4 cups cooked basmati rice
8 Female zucchini flowers with attached baby zucchini*
1/2 fennel bulb, shaved
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup coarsely chopped continental parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fennel fronds
125g marinated feta, drained and crumbled
1 garlic clove, crushed
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon myrtle olive oil (or plain olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Separate zucchini flowers from each baby zucchini. Gently tear the zucchini flower petals from the base of the flower and set aside discarding the flower base and stamen. Then chop the baby zucchini into rounds by cutting off the top and very bottom of each zucchini and cut crosswise in 1/2 cm slices. Set aside.
To a small pot of boiling salted water, add the baby zucchini slices and blanch for 30 seconds until tender. Remove from boiling water and refresh in cold water, then set aside.
Place rice, blanched zucchini slices, shaved fennel, pine nuts, parsley, fennel fronds and feta in a salad bowl and mix until well combined. In a small bowl, mix garlic, lime zest and juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar till well combined, then pour onto the rice salad and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top with zucchini flower petals and serve.
*Female zucchini flowers are attached to a zucchini, the male ones have stems