One of the classic family stories that I’ve heard a million times but don’t remember is this: Little Laura, maybe three or four years old, is asked if she wants some squash at dinner time. I replied, “Yes, please, but I’d like it whole, not squashed.” SO cute, right?! It makes me smile every time.
Not only do I love un-squashed squash, I love interesting ingredients (like fava beans). Last week at Gisuppe’s in San Luis Obispo, we ordered the fried zucchini flower appetizer, and after that I knew I was ready to create my own. Luckily, this past Thursday at SLO Farmer’s Market, I found some for sale and bought a basket – they cost something like $2, and there were probably 10 in the basket, though some were too small to stuff. I knew I wanted mine to involve mozzarella, and I knew I didn’t want to fry them…so this is what I came up with. Tomato Basil Mozzarella Stuffed Baked Squash Flowers. Oh my goodness.
Click for more pretty photos!
Important note: Squash flowers are best used on the same day of your purchase. I did not know this, and went to use mine three days later. They were wilted, which made them harder to work with and not as pretty (but still delicious!). Now I know!
Baked Stuffed Squash Flowers
These work as an appetizer or a main course.
8 squash flowers
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into very small cubes
3 tablespoons chopped, oven-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh basil, julienned
Olive oil for drizzling
Note: I would imagine that the quantity of these ingredients would be larger for flowers that are not wilted, so if you try this take a look and see how much stuffing you think you can fit in. Mozzarella and tomatoes are easy to cut up, so it’s not a huge deal to make more stuffing, either.
1. Combine mozzarella, tomato, and basil in a bowl.
2. Carefully open flower and gently snap off the stamen (where the pollen would be). If the flower is attached to a squash, slice the squash but leave it attached to the flower – it will look somewhat fanned-out. These baby squash are delicious, don’t throw them out!!
3. Gently fill flowers with mozzarella mixture. You can use your hands or a spoon. Twist the tops of the flowers to close.
4. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!