Yemista is a matter of pride for many Greek cooks and stuffed zucchini blossoms hold a very special place in this cooking repertoire, due to their delicate nature. A joy of the spring and summer garden (and farmer’s market) zucchini flowers have a subtle flavour and require just the right sort of filling, so as not to overpower them. Some cooks will use grated tomato in their zucchini blossoms, but I prefer to use a little fresh lemon juice. If fresh lemons are all done by the middle of summer, verjuice also works well.
The flowers are much easier to work with when they are just picked (preferably early in the morning), or if you buy them from the farmer’s market, they are best used that day. They do not benefit from a day in the fridge and tend to go a bit sad and soggy.
Combined with a side plate of feta or olives, zucchini blossoms make a wonderful main course. On their own, they can also make a great meze. Either way, they look stunning on the table and definitely bring that touch of summer.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
κολοκύθανθοι γεμιστοί με ρύζι
COURSE Main Course
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 20 minutes
- 20 zucchini flowers
- 1 tbsp of rice per flower I used half bonnet & half Carolina
- 1/2 cup of spring or white onion grated
- 1/2 cup of shallots or green ends of spring onions finely chopped
- 1/2 bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 bunch mint finely chopped
- 1/2 bunch dill finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 vegetable stock or water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of verjuice or fresh lemon juice
- Rinse the flowers individually, removing the inner pistil and stamen. Take care not to tear the flowers. Set aside to drain thoroughly. Pat dry before using.
- In a bowl, combine rice, onion, parsley, mint, dill, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to help the mixture bind.
- Carefully fill each blossom with about 1 teaspoon of the mixture. Be careful not to overfill, as the rice will expand while cooking and can spilt the flower. Gently twist or fold the open end of the flower and turn underneath. Place in a wide pot, with the fold side down. Continue until all the flowers and filled and they fit snugly in one single layer in the pot.
- Add the water or stock, the remaining 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and the verjuice or lemon juice. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and then turn a plate, upside down, to hold the baking paper and flowers. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer cook over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes or until the rice is tender.