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Courtesy of Craig Baker at The Local Eatery and Pub (14655 N. Gray Rd., Westfield, 317-218-3786)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
4 quarts whole stewed tomatoes
3 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Add oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot and begin to cook garlic over medium heat. When it is translucent and browning around the edges, deglaze the pot with about a cup of wine. Reduce heat. Add tomatoes and three basil leaves. (You can pre-crush the tomatoes by hand before adding or use a potato masher now.) Cook on very low heat for an hour, stirring often to make sure it does not stick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup soda water
Instructions: Sift all dry ingredients together. Add water, mix, and let sit until ready for use.
1/4 cup goat cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup mascarpone at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, rough-chopped
3 Tbs basil, rough-chopped
Splash of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 zucchini or daylily blossoms
4 cups canola or peanut oil for frying
1-gallon zip-lock bag
30 basil leaves
Fresh Parmesan, grated
Instructions: In a blender or food processor, add garlic, basil, salt, and splash of oil to get it moving. Puree until smooth, and then drop warm cheese combination into the blender to mix together. Make sure the puree is lump-free and then place inside zip-lock bag. Cut off a corner of the bag, and fill the cavity of the blossoms with the mixture. Carefully lay filled blossoms on tray and refrigerate for about an hour before frying to solidify the cheese stuffing.
Re-stir the batter when ready to fry. Heat oil in a large pan to about 350 degrees. Carefully dip the blossoms into the batter and drop them into the oil. Fry for about a minute and a half on each side before removing them from the oil and placing them on paper towels to drain. Dip the basil leaves in the batter and fry for about 45 seconds or until the edges start to brown. Drain and reserve with the blossoms.
For individual servings, place a ladleful of the Pomodoro sauce in the center of the plate, and then add about two blossoms per person and top with three fried basil leaves. Finish with salt or grated Parmesan.
Courtesy of Daniel Orr of FARMbloomington (108 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, 812-323-0002)
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 new potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
1 small onion, julienned
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 baby zucchini or summer squash with the flowers if available (or 1/4 large squash), sliced into this discs
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, torn (not cut) into pieces
8 zucchini flowers or squash blossoms (open them up to make sure they are bug-free)
1/4 cup fresh cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyere, Cantal, or a mixture, grated
Diced fresh tomatoes
Rosemary sprigs for garnish
Instructions: Preheat the broiler. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with sea salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet or nonstick saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the potatoes and onion and cook until the onion is soft and the potatoes begin to brown. Add the garlic, zucchini, and summer squash and cook until the squash just begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs. Raise the heat to high, add the eggs, and gently toss them with the vegetables; cook until the eggs are slightly set but still very soft, and then remove the pan from the heat. Using a spatula, flatten the eggs and vegetables evenly in the pan and place the squash flowers in a pinwheel on top, pressing them gently into the egg mixture. Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese. Place the pan under the broiler and cook only enough to wilt, or collapse, the squash blossoms. Top the omelet with spoonfuls of tomato compote and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and cracked pepper. Garnish with rosemary.
This article appears as a companion piece to the "Flavor of the Month: Flower Power" story in the July 2012 issue.
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