There is something about bread crumbs and ricotta cheese that I feel symbolizes my New Jersey Italian heritage. When something is dipped in an egg wash, rolled around in bread crumbs, and fried in olive oil tastes like the home of my mom – my grandmother – my Aunt Fran – my Aunt Kim – and just anyone else in my family. Add some ricotta cheese into the mix and I am back to my adolescent self; waiting to place something so scrumptious and tasty in my mouth that I dance in my seat with delight. Brian brought home some of these beautiful baby zucchinis with their blossoms still attached from the farmer’s market. I could not resist stuffing the blossoms with a cheese and herbs, dipping them in an egg wash, then rolling them in bread crumbs, and finally frying them in olive oil. With a spicy marinara sauce to dip them in and perfection has been achieved. Again, I dance in my seat like I did as a child and if I might say Brian was too. I am sure if you make these you will have your guests dancing with excitement as well.
Baby Zucchini with Stuffed Blossoms (serves 4)
12 – 16 baby Zucchinis, blossoms still attached; vine end trimmed
1 cup of Ricotta Cheese, drained
½ cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp of chopped fresh Parsley
1 tsp of chopped fresh Oregano
½ tsp of chopped fresh Chives
2 – 3 Eggs, whisked together well
1 – 2 cups of Plain Bread Crumbs
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper, to taste
Olive Oil for frying
½ recipe of Marinara Sauce
First; with a kitchen scissor trim the stamen and center of the blossom, leaving the blossom attached to the zucchini. Rinse it well, but be sure it is all dry before continuing.
Next; in a bowl mix together your ricotta, parmesan, parsley, chives, and oregano. When well combined, place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe anywhere from a teaspoon and a half to a tablespoon size amount of the filling in the center of each blossom. (You want to fill the center without over filling. The tips of your blossom should be able to close around your filling.)
Then; place your whisked eggs in a bowl. Next to it fill a bowl or plate with your bread crumbs. Working with one zucchini at a time, place the baby zucchini and its stuffed blossom in the egg – coating it well. Be sure the tips of your blossom stay closed while doing this. Lift it out of the egg letting the excess drip off and then place in the bread crumbs. Pat the zucchini and its stuffed blossom lightly in the bread crumbs to coat and then place on a plate until ready to cook.
Finally; place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once heated through add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once olive oil is heated through add your coated and stuffed zucchinis gently into the oil. (Just a couple at a time.) Keeping a close eye on them, turn them to brown evenly on all sides. When evenly golden, lift out of the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate for draining. When on the plate sprinkle with Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper to taste. Keep working in batches until done. Serve them warm and with the marinara sauce if you wish.
Note: I personally like to reduce my marinara sauce down a bit more when serving it with something like this as apposed to when I serve it with pasta.