Zucchini flowers. Cilantro cashew cheese. Shiitake anchovies. Shiso. Mint oil.
I want to share with you this delicious raw recipe - stuffed zucchini flowers. Every summer I make sure I eat zucchini flowers, they are super special, so tender, fragrant and delicate.
Did you know that zucchini flowers that we harvest and eat are male flowers? Yup. Only female flowers produce zucchini fruits. Male flowers are those that we can pick and consume. They have a single, long stamen that is covered in pollen. Female flowers have a stigma with multiple stems inside. You can find these beauties at most of farmers markets during mid summer - which is NOW :)
Before I learned about raw food I use to pan fry zucchini flowers, following traditional Italian recipes. This year I decided to prepare them raw to retain that sweet fragrant essence that otherwise gets destroyed by high heat.
I was truly delighted with the results! Fragrant aromatic herbs compliment so well sweetness of the flowers. And the chewy shiitake anchovy gives it a nice salty kick to balance the flavors.
Serving: about 8-10 stuffed flowers.
1⁄2 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon ume vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt.
3/4 c of soaked cashews (2-3 hours min)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp water (add more if too thick)
Chopped cilantro 2 tbsp (adjust to taste)
8-10 zucchini flowers
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c mint leaves
few large spinach leaves
8-10 shiso leaves
First, Shiitake anchovies. *Prepare them a day before (could be then stored for couple of weeks in air tight container in the fridge). I've learned this recipe when I was in Maine this June with Matthew Kenney Culinary.
Clean (using a brush, no water) and slice mushrooms. I use shiitake because their texture works best here. Mix marinade ingredients together and set mushrooms in it for 15-20 min, they should absorb all the liquid. Dehydrate at 115F overnight. Texture can vary based on your preference. I like them slightly chewy not super crispy.
Now flowers. Do not wash them. Rather use a vegetable brush and brush off little speck of dirt etc. Using a knife cut into the flowers (long side), shake off any bugs that might have crawled inside, then gently tear off the stamen. Process all the flowers and set them aside.
Let's prepare Cilantro cashew cheese. This is a non-fermented cheese. We will use acid and nutritional yeast to achieve that cheesy flavor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, and fold in chopped cilantro. Set aside.
Next Mint oil. Blend ingredients together. Strain through a fine mesh. Transfer into a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge.
Gently open zucchini flower, using a small spoon stuff it with cheese and a couple slivers of shiitake anchovy. Set each flower on top of a shiso leaf. Sprinkle with herb oil. Finish with mint leaves and cilantro flowers.