I think that zucchini flowers are one of the most beautiful things you can eat. They are lovely and elegant, and they just scream summer. When they are in season, zucchini flowers are delicious stuffed, fried, or sautéed.
Unfortunately, their beauty and their flavors are fleeting. This recipe for Zucchini Flower Sauce from Eugenia Bone's Well-Preserved is a wonderful way to keep the warm, summery flavors of zucchini flowers around all year, with a little help from the freezer. Bone incorporates this sauce into a basic risotto recipe, as a sauce for a mild fish, or as an addition to a quesadilla.
- 1 pound zucchini flowers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cups homemade or all-natural low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon of warm water for a few minutes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Check the insides of the zucchini flowers for insects. Unless you think the plants were sprayed with insecticide, do not wash. Coarsely chop.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini flowers and saute over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the flowers are soft. You will smell their delicate perfume.
Heat the stock to a simmer over medium low heat. Add the saffron with it's water. Pour the saffron flavored stock over the flowers and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until the stock reduces by about a quarter. Do not add salt and pepper unless you are going to be serving immediately.
Spoon the sauce into four 1-cup freezer containers (do not reuse old deli containers, which aren't necessarily food grade), leaving 1/2 of headspace for expansion. Immediately place in the freezer, preferably in the back, where it is coldest. The quicker the sauce freezes, the better the texture will be when you defrost. The sauce will keep for 3 months.
Defrost the sauce in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or, to speed up the defrosting, place the closed container in a bowl of cool water for about 2 hours.