We live about 2/3 time in the south of France, and every spring there I find gorgeous fresh zucchini blossoms in the market. I've tried stuffing them all sorts of ways, but this is the simplest and ultimately most satisfying approach. Use male blossoms if you want flowers only, female blossoms if you'd like to have tiny zucchini attached to the blossoms. This is a labor of love, and one of the most beautiful appetizers you can put on a plate. —Abra Bennett
6 as an appetizer
dozen zucchini flowers, freshly picked
fresh ricotta, the best you can get
grated sheep's cheese, or use Parmesan or Grana Padano
For the filling, combine ricotta, egg yolks, cheese, shallot, garlic, and basil in a small bowl, salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the filling into 12 parts, and with a very small spoon, fill each blossom, folding the petals over the filling so that each flower encloses its inner treasure.
Set the stuffed blossoms in an oiled baking pan. When you have filled all the blossoms, drizzle the olive oil evenly over all the flowers.
Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the blossoms for about 20 minutes if male blossoms, slightly longer for female blossoms, until the flowers are golden brown, and the baby zucchini are tender if using female blossoms.
These are best served lukewarm. You can fill the blossoms ahead of time, even the night before you wish to serve them. Bake about 40 minutes before serving, and allow to cool a bit before you plate them.