Florentine-flavored perspectives of a dual citizen who found a richer life in the Italy that her grandparents were forced to abandon 100 years ago.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Zucchini Flowers for a Hot Day
A perfect pick for dining in the Florence heat! I'm always hunting for alternatives to panzanella, salads, caprese and panini to keep cool. Today I found the perfect summer dish based on what's currently fresh in Florence's markets. Objective: minimal cooking and the pursuit of a cool kitchen and an even cooler Barbara.
As I browsed the Sant'Ambrogio market this morning, the zucchini flowers screamed at me for attention.... freschissimi eabbondanti! It instantly grabbed me....eggs with zucchini flowers and pecorino. Fast, fresh and it doesn't heat up the kitchen. A soft Vermentino or sparkling white makes the perfect partner.
I love eating all kinds of flowers and always have. In the U.S., zucchini flowers are a delicacy and priced as such. Here, they are common, cheap and abundant in the right season. Italian eggs are much more tasty than American eggs, and combined, they make a heavenly simple meal.
The recipe: Three eggs, 3 tbs.grated aged pecorino, 3 tbs.chopped parsely, 1 tsp.shallots, 5 big zucchini flowers, a few pats of butter. Die-hard Tuscans can use olive oil, but butter enhances the sweetness of the flowers. Sliver up the flowers. Melt the butter, add slivered shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and 1/2 of the chopped parsley to the eggs. Add the flowers and remaining parsley to the pan with a dash of salt and cook for 1 1/2 minutes (keep the crunch!). Add the eggs and as they cook, fold them over a few times for maybe a minute! Withdraw the pan from the heat when the eggs start to coagulate and finish the cooking off the heat! (you don't want to scramble it, and do not cook too long. Keep the yokes a little wet for the best flavor) Done! You can also cook this frittata style, but it is thicker, drier and takes longer.
Now you can serve it plain, or over some toasted Tuscan bread rubbed with olive oil. You can also plop a dollop of ricotta on top. Sprinke more parsley over the eggs and enjoy.