The whimsical-looking zucchini flower (also known as a zucchini blossom) is the edible flower of the zucchini plant. Bright yellow in colour, it’s tasty whether eaten cooked or raw. A traditional ingredient in Italian households, you can find zucchini flowers in specialty shops from early spring to late fall. The most common method for preparing a zucchini flower is to fry them in a light batter.
Our Zucchini-Flower Pasta Salad is as delicious as it is beautiful. The prep is all in the dressing, but your time measuring, toasting and chopping is worth it. We like balancing this salad so that the ratio is more veggies to pasta. Any delicate, short pasta will work here—look for unusual shapes at your favourite Italian shop. Add the flowers and dressing just before serving.
Mint & Walnut Vinaigrette
- 3 tbsp white-wine vinegar
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- ½ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
- 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
- ¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1⅓ cup short pasta, such as anelli, campanelle or torchiette approximate
- 3 small zucchini cut into thin rounds
- 12 zucchini flowers
- 11/4 cups shaved pecorino Romano
- ½ cup small tender mint leaves
- In bowl, whisk together vinegar, Dijon, honey and shallot. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, then walnut oil, in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Stir in walnuts and mint. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and taste before adding more.
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 1 minute longer than recommended in package directions. Drain; transfer to large shallow bowl and toss with half the vinaigrette while still hot. Let cool to room temperature.
- Stir in zucchini. Trim zucchini flowers and tear in half; stir into pasta mixture with pecorino Romano and mint leaves. Taste salad before adding more vinaigrette (different pastas will need different amounts). Serve immediately.