When I set up our editorial calendar for summer with Francis Ford Coppola Winery, I picked their Diamond Collection Pinot Grigio specifically for this month. It is Lenny’s birthday month, and Pinot Grigio happens to be one of his favorite summer wines. While I was working on recipes to serve with this crisp and refreshing summer wine, I had a completely different one in mind and near completion. Then Lenny brought it to my attention, since it was his birthday month, I should be serving this wine with one of his favorite recipes. This recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms just happened to work out even more perfectly with the pinot grigio than the wine I had originally planned to pair with them.
The Diamond Collection Pinot Grigio is meant for hot, balmy summer days or evenings. It is crisp and refreshing. Light on the palate with hints of green apple and citrus, which is the perfect pairing with creamy ricotta. Lenny caught hints of stone fruit such as juicy peaches as well. I love that about wine; it is so personal and imprints different memories for everyone. No matter if you taste green apples or juicy summer peaches, this wine is perfect for summer and will complement many dishes from grilled fish to light cheeses.
As I begin thinking of recipes to serve with a Francis Ford Coppola wine, I start at the farmers market. I take in what is in season, and what is exciting my taste-buds as I wander through. We have been eyeing zucchini blossoms the past three Sundays, and when I mentioned what I had planned to pair with this wine, Lenny steered me to those gorgeous blossoms. The funny thing is, he loves zucchini blossoms, but I can barely get him to eat zucchini!
My go-to recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms is made with a mixture of creamy ricotta seasoned with fresh Italian parsley, basil, Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Simple. Normally, I fry the stuffed blossoms, quickly in some canola oil. This time I tried dipping them in a rice flour batter before frying them, as well I tried baking them. I went back to my tried and true recipe by lightly frying them for a few seconds, as is, simply stuffed. I prefer, this way as the cooking method is quick, and the delicate blossoms are not weighted down with batter. Baking tended to leave them soggy. Quickly frying in oil opens up the blossoms slightly, which leaves a delicate lace-like texture; just long enough to warm the cheese and lightly cook the blossom.
I tend to serve this recipe as an appetizer but have recently started serving as a light entree. It is perfect with an heirloom tomato salad, a little bread and a glass of Diamond Collection Pinot Grigio from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
20 large zucchini blossoms, stems intact
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
You can remove the stamen from the center of each blossom if you like. I don’t I keep it.
Gently rinse the blossoms and pat dry.
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta and herbs along with the parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Separate the blossom petals very gently, and place a heaping teaspoon of cheese mixture into each blossom.
Twist the tips of the petals closed. Set aside.
In a deep frying pan with a depth of 2 inches or more pour in the canola oil. Heat to 375 degrees – I use a deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature.
One at a time, gently lower a zucchini blossom into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Lightly turn the blossom just until the tips begin to fan out. This will take less than a minute.
Remove with the slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Repeat the process until all the blossoms are cooked.
Arrange on a serving platter and lightly sprinkle with some Maldon salt.
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