Zucchini Blossoms

by Ginevra on October 20, 2011

The best recipe for stuffed Zucchini Blossoms is from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook: My Father’s Daughter.  Like all the recipes in her book, it is easy to follow, calls for good ingredients, and results in a delicious dish.

You can find Zucchini Blossoms at the Bergerac market on Saturdays, 1€ for a basket of 15 or so. Pretty good deal. The Zucchini Blossoms are most abundant in August and September, so look out for them then.  For our Culinary Tour of the Dordogne, with Bay Area food author and former Chez Panisse Chef Janet Fletcher, which will be held September 18 – 26, 2012  …. be sure to look out for these Zucchini gems!

Recipe notes: It is difficult to grate fresh mozzarella, chopping works fine. Experimentation with stuffing is encouraged, try blue cheese and basil.

Clockwise from top left: zucchini flowers fresh from the market, flowers in their batter, flowers frying, flowers ready to eat and enjoy!

Zucchini Flowers with Anchovies and Mozzarella
copied from:
My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow


3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flower

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup sparkling water or seltzer

Coarse salt

6 ounces fresh mozzarella (water packed)
coarsely grated

6 anchovy fillets finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

20 small zucchini flowers

Safflower or peanut oil, for frying

1 lemon, halved, for serving


Whisk the flour together with the olive oil in a large bowl – the mixture will be pebbly.  Whisk the fizzy water into the mixture until the batter is smooth.  Season with a large pinch of salt, cover with plastic, and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the mozzarella, anchovies, pepper, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Carefully open each zucchini flower and stuff it with a generous tablespoon of filling, twisting the top ever so gently just to keep everything inside – you want to try not the tear the flowers, but a break or two is inevitable, so don’t drive yourself crazy.  At this point, the batter  and the flowers can be set aside for up to a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to eat, heat up an inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan with a bit of weight over medium-high heat.  When a drop of water or a small cube of bread sizzles on contact, dip each zucchini flower into the batter just to coat it and carefully slip it into the oil.  Fill the pan with as many flowers as will fit in a single layer without overcrowding.  Brown the flowers on both sides (about 45 seconds a side) and then drain on paper towels. Serve hot, squeezing a bit of lemon juice and sprinkling salt over each.

Serves 4 : Active and total preparation time: 45 minutes

My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, Grand Central Publishing, 2011



Recipe: Olive and Tomato Toasts

by Ginevra on October 4, 2011

Since its still pretty warm, (unseasonably so) it is not unlikely that you will still be finding heaps of beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market, or if you’re lucky in your own back yard.  Here is a nice little recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Today’s Gourmet. It calls for cilantro, which is near impossible to find in Southwest France. And if you do find it, it is often too expensive and a little too limp. Instead, substitute some basil, or Italian parsley or whatever fragrant herb you like.  Don’t forget to hit up the olive man at the market for the black olives.

Recipe: Olive and Tomato Toasts

4   tablespoons virgin olive oil
16 slices from a baguette, cut 1/2 inch thick
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup oil cured black olives, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
4 tablespoons minced cilantro
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1) Spread 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a cookie sheet and dip both sides of the bread slices in the oil.  Arrange on the sheet and bake in a preheated 400℉ oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, in a bowl combine tomatoes, olives, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, cilantro, pepper and salt.

3) Divide and spread the mixture evenly on top of each piece of toast. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

4) Return to the 400℉ oven for 5 minutes and serve warm, or serve unbaked at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

copied from: Jacques Pepin’s Today’s Gourmet, 1991




The Local Beat: A Dordogne Questionnaire

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Ten Things to Do in Bordeaux

June 5, 2011

Ten Things to Do in Bordeaux If you’re coming to Maison d’Alienor, why not begin your trip with a stay in Bordeaux?  Bordeaux is the major city into which flights from all over Europe, land. Bordeaux is about 90 minutes due west of the Dordogne. A brilliant place to begin your trip. Here are Ten […]

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