Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms with Herbed Ricotta

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These lightly sautéed zucchini blossoms & baby zucchini served on top of dripped ricotta whipped with olive oil and fresh herbs make an easy and beautiful summer appetizer or side.

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Zucchini Blossom Season

Close up overhead shot of closed zucchini blossoms still attached to baby zucchini in a bowl.

Zucchini blossoms will be available during the same period that zucchini is in season. For California, you can see them at the farmers market from June through October.

Male Versus Female Zucchini Blossoms

Male zucchini flowers:

  • Have Long stems
  • Contain a stamen in the center of the flower (it looks like a single stem with a pollen head)
  • Don’t grow fruit
  • They appear on zucchini plants before the female flowers
  • Will open to release pollen and then fall off

Female zucchini flowers:

  • Have a pistil in the center of the flower that is more complex looking (it looks like a grouping of stems with separate pollen heads)
  • Must remain on the plant until the zucchini starts to grow
  • Are attached to the growing zucchini
Close up shot of an opened zucchini blossom flower in the hands of a woman.
Female Zucchini Flower

Harvesting Zucchini Blossoms

When harvesting your own zucchini flowers from your zucchini plants, make sure to leave behind some male flowers on each plant, as they are needed to pollinate the female flowers.

You can also choose to harvest the female zucchini blossoms once they’ve grown small baby zucchini.

Can I Eat Both Male and Female Zucchini Blossoms?

Extreme close up shot of sautéed zucchini blossoms on top of baby zucchini and herbed ricotta.

Both male and female zucchini flowers are edible. Most often at my farmers market, they sell female zucchini blossoms with baby zucchini attached, which have become my preference. I really enjoy the taste and texture of baby zucchini.

How to Clean and Store Zucchini Blossoms

Zucchini blossoms are best used the day you buy them. They don’t keep very well. However, it is possible sometimes to keep them for a few days in the fridge.

I’ve found that adding a paper towel to a sealable plastic bag works fairly well for 1 or 2 days. But still, it’s best to plan to use them the day you harvest or buy them.

Overhead shot of a platter with herbed ricotta and zucchini blossoms and fruit next to whole raw flowers spread out around the platter.

Wait to wash the zucchini blossoms until you are ready to cook with them. Be aware that sometimes there are bees or other bugs hiding in closed blossoms. I like to briefly shake the blossoms (like you are ringing a bell) to dislodge any critters that might have been picked along with the flower.

Pry open the blossoms if they are closed tightly and run water lightly into them and over them. Barely have the faucet running to save the blossoms from breaking under the high pressure from the water. You can also submerge them in a bowl of water to clean them.

Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms with Herbed Ricotta – Key Ingredients

Overhead shot of a platter topped with sautéed zucchini blossoms and fruit next to whole raw flowers spread out around the platter and small bowl of olive oil.

Ricotta

Use good quality ricotta! Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms with Herbed Ricotta is a very simple dish, so it’s vital that you use the best quality ingredients you have access to.

The list of ingredients should be very short (pasteurized milk, whey, cultures, rennet, and salt) because that’s all that’s needed to make excellent ricotta.

I now use Bellwether Farms whole milk basket ricotta. It was my introduction to how delicious ricotta can actually be (I didn’t like it before).

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

While ricotta is the star next to the zucchini blossoms, a bad or rancid olive oil will ruin this dish faster than anything. You can read more about choosing a good quality olive oil here.

Photography Win

Overhead shot of sautéed zucchini blossoms and herbed ricotta on a serving platter next to a bowl filled with zucchini blossoms and a smaller bowl filled with olive oil.

I’m so happy with these pictures! I have another zucchini blossom recipe on the blog and I’ve never been too crazy over the pictures.

A while back I tried to reshoot the recipe and once again, my vision for what I wanted didn’t materialize. I ended up not even updating the pictures.

It made me so sad because zucchini blossoms are beautiful and I was frustrated that I couldn’t do them justice. But finally, with these pictures, I feel like I captured both their simplicity and beauty. What do you think?

Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms with Herbed Ricotta

Servings 6 to 8

Ingredients

Dripped Herbed Ricotta Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole milk basket ricotta I used Bellwether Farms
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chives finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms Ingredients

  • 24 Zucchini blossoms with attached baby zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil separated
  • 1 tablespoon basil sliced thinly in ribbons
  • Flaky sea salt to taste

Instructions

Dripped Herbed Ricotta Instructions

  • Place the ricotta in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle. Place the bundled ricotta in a strainer and set it over a bowl. Put a plate on top of the ricotta and place something heavy on the plate so that it is pressing lightly on the ricotta, draining the excess liquid out. Let the ricotta drain for at least 2 hours.
  • Put the drained ricotta in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on high for 1 minute and then add the olive oil and whisk for 1 minute.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until evenly incorporated.

Sautéed Zucchini Blossoms Instructions

  • Cut the baby zucchini in half vertically and then cut each half into 3 pieces, vertically, so that they approach matchstick status.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini and sauce until it is tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the basil and flaky sea salt and stir. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the squash blossoms and cook about 2 seconds per side. It helps to use tongs to flip the blossoms. The blossoms should still be bright in color and barely wilted. Transfer to a plate.
  • Spread the ricotta mixture on a serving platter using a spoon to spread it evenly. Pour a little olive oil over it and then spread the sautéed zucchini on top. Top with the blossoms and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Serve.

Notes

I’ve done this recipe multiple times with anywhere from 12 to 24 blossoms.
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Appetizers
Keyword: sides and snacks, zucchini, ricotta, quick and easy

Ingredients and Tools

These lightly sautéed zucchini blossoms & baby zucchini served on top of dripped ricotta whipped with olive oil and fresh herbs makes an easy and beautiful summer appetizer or side. #megiswell #meganwellsphotography | www.megiswell.com
These lightly sautéed zucchini blossoms & baby zucchini served on top of dripped ricotta whipped with olive oil and fresh herbs makes an easy and beautiful summer appetizer or side. #megiswell #meganwellsphotography | www.megiswell.com
These lightly sautéed zucchini blossoms & baby zucchini served on top of dripped ricotta whipped with olive oil and fresh herbs makes an easy and beautiful summer appetizer or side. #megiswell #meganwellsphotography | www.megiswell.com

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