It used to be a lot more special before fresh zucchini was available year-round, but we're finally entering prime zucchini blossom season in Connecticut. I've seen it on a couple of menus in the past week.

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If you grew up in an Italian-American household like I did, zucchini blossoms, or flowers usually were some of the first fresh veggies that we ate from our gardens in May or June. The flower is an edible part of the zucchini plant, it's the orange flower in early growth, not the green zucchini. They're typically plucked after 4-5 weeks, and the fresh outdoor crop has been delayed or destroyed this year in Connecticut by all of the cold weather that we've been having.

Zucchini blossoms are tasty right off the plant, with a very subtle flavor, and a delicate, velvety texture. Some use fresh blossoms in frittata or salad dishes, but my favorite is fried. When I've made them, I stuff the flowers with ricotta, and parm, dust them with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley, dip them in an egg batter and pan fry them. They're tough to find in Western Connecticut. I've found them at LaBonne's, Bantam Market, and Big Y before, but I've struck out so far this year every time I've asked.

Once place that you can always rely on having zucchini flowers on their menu? San Marino Ristorante in Waterbury. Mrs. Large and I get them every time, and they're always perfect. Can we get some warmer weather? Grow zucchini, grow.

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