One of the perks of having a terrific chef for a dear friend is the kitchen lessons you’ll inevitably get.
On a recent weekend, I noticed a lovely bouquet of yellow and orange flowers in chef Simpson‘s kitchen.
“How pretty,” I said.
“Dinner!” was his reply.
Turns out the blooms were zucchini flowers — how was he planning to cook them? I didn’t have to wait long to find out …
Now, I’d never cooked zucchini blossoms before — I’d only eaten them (stuffed with minced shrimp) at Cafe Asean, Simpson’s Southeast Asian comfort food joint in New York City.
But it’s super easy to cook them. First, you separate the flower from the stem and remove the pistil from within.
Next, you mix together a stuffing for the blooms — on this afternoon, Simpson was eager to clear out some cheese in his fridge, so he whipped together a crumbly mixture of coarsely grated blue cheese, parmesan and cheddar with finely chopped fresh basil.
Then, you scoop the filling into the flowers — as much as they’ll hold — and twist them a little at the end to seal in the mixture.
How did they taste? Delicious, hot off the pan. The combination of melted oozy cheese with the crunch and crisp greenness of the bud was delicious on its own but especially lovely paired with chilled bubbly on a warm summer evening.
The best part? The whole process took just about no time at all. The next time I have a cocktail party, I know what I’m serving.