Saturday, June 27, 2009

Zucchini Flower Pasta with fresh herbs

The biggest reason I planted a few zucchini bushes in the garden this year was to have access to zucchini flowers - not that I don't love zucchini, but it's so plentiful and cheap at the farmers' market all summer, so why grow it? The blossoms, on the other hand, are more elusive. I know a lot of markets out there feature squash flowers, but I haven't seen them here before. They're delicate and fragile and perishable soon after picking, so I understand why they can be hard to protect and transport to markets.

Since this is my first time growing zucchini, I've been closely watching the blossoms for a few weeks now, and reading about them online. They grow at least twice as big as the ones above, but with a thunderstorm on the way this afternoon, I picked a few instead of letting them stay out in the wind and even a bit of hail. This was the first garden zucchini too, along with flowers and herbs:
I really want to try stuffed, battered, and fried zucchini blossoms, but these little guys were way too delicate for anything like that. Instead, I added them to a pasta salad with zucchini and fresh herbs - this would be great picnic food! The sliced zucchini were sauteed in olive oil until just softened, and tossed with the thinly sliced herbs, cooked pasta at room temperature, and salad dressing. Here's the fresh herbs, and salad dressing ingredients:

1/3 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 sprig of fennel
2 or 3 sage leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard

I added the flowers last - they don't require any cooking. A story on the NPR food podcast from earlier this month described the texture of fresh squash blossoms as "like eating air." That's about right...aren't they pretty?

There's more zucchini in this pic from the week, but this time paired with grease and gravy, instead of flowers and herbs. It's "chicken-fried" tofu, with mushroom gravy made with a can of Hamms beer. Hallelujah.

I've been eating fresh garden salad after work all week - just took a picture because I know it will be gone too soon.

This morning I made the Hollandaise sauce from Vegan Brunch, which was super, of course. Instead of the full tofu benedict in the book - doesn't that look awesome? - I topped some hashbrowns and scrambled tofu with the sauce. It was brilliant - thanks again Isa!


Aly said...

That looks beautiful! I'll have to start growing zucchini now. Thank you!

Sal said...

the flowers are so pretty - they make the salad look really classy!!

that tofu dish looks pretty wonderous too!

Bianca said...

Ooh, that squash flower dish looks so good! I've only tried them once, and I stuffed 'em with tofu ricotta, beer-battered them and deep-fried them. They were great, but yours sounds much healthier!

Speaking of beer-battered, that tofu is so sexy! And I love the use of that Hollandaise sauce. I'm planning on making that tofu benny this weekend.

miss v said...

i just picked some zucchini flowers this weekend. sounds yummy!

Amazing Flower said...

that's so yummy and healthy food. Singapore Florist

Philippa said...

Quite worthwhile info, thank you for the article.