A common and traditional dish with zucchini flowers is made by filling them with a soft cheese like ricotta and breading then frying them. However, they are delicate enough to enjoy raw and there are much healthier and lighter ingredients to stuff them with, like hummus. If you don’t have any flowering zucchini plants in your yard the easiest way to obtain some of the flowers is at a local farmers’ market- just be sure to arrive near the start time because they usually sell out pretty quickly. They are very fragile so they should be kept in a cool place and eaten upon the day of harvest and/or purchase.I chose hummus because it has a satisfyingly dense texture and will not seep into the crevices or drip out of the flowers, making this an easy dish to plate and eat. Hummus is light and airy enough to not weigh them down or ruin their delicate petals but it has enough flavour to make just these two foods into a balanced appetizer. I used a sriracha jalapeño flavoured hummus but there are always many flavours to choose from in the deli section of grocery stores so this can be easily adapted to personal preferences. The flowers of a plant often taste similar to what ingredient that plant produces and is most known for culinarily, be it herbs or squash. Zucchini flowers thus taste just like zucchinis themselves, although the flavour is more faint and slightly floral. They are a little sturdier near the base but become increasingly thinner towards the tips where they are like tissue paper.To open up the zucchini flower you can create a seam by slowly pulling two pieces apart from the tip, or for a cleaner cut use a pair of scissors, insert the bottom side into the flower from the tip to the base then make a single cut and peel back the two side edges. There will be either an anther or a stigma inside the flower at the stem end, depending on if it is male or female, twist and pull it out gently along with any pollen that may be there so that the flower is now hollow. Be very careful with the pollen, it is a deep yellow and will stain anything it comes in contact with.Add in a spoonful of hummus and use the spoon to spread it from the base to around a 1/4 to 1/2 inch near the tip. Fold the sides near the opening back in. They can be completely rejoined or left slightly open so that the filling is visible. I had fairly large flowers so I used around 2 tablespoons of hummus in each and they were edible in 2-3 bites.
- 6 zucchini flowers
- ¾ cup hummus
- Gently open the flowers by making a thin tear or cut from the tip to close to the base then peel back the two sides to make a larger opening.
- Twist and peel out the anther or a stigma inside the flower at the stem end, along with any pollen that may be there so that the flower is now completely hollow. Be very careful with the pollen, it is a deep yellow and will stain anything it comes in contact with.
- Add in a large spoonful of hummus (around 2 tablespoons per flower) and use the spoon to spread it from the base to around a ¼ to ½ inch near the tip. Fold the sides near the opening back in. They can be completely rejoined or left slightly open so that the filling is visible.
- Transfer the stuffed flowers to a plate and serve as an appetizer, as part of a crudité or antipasto platter or place one or two on individual salads or entrées.