zucchini flowers and why I love them

by Sharon Santoni

zucchini flowers and why I love them- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

At the local market this morning I was on a mission.  We had a big family lunch planned and I really wanted to prepare some deep fried zucchini flowers to enjoy with our aperitif.  Oblivious to my husband’s warning words about never going to the market with a list etc etc, I headed off, optimistic and sure that I’d return with the goods.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, a busy market and I headed straight for my favourite vendor here,  Jean Pierre.   “Bonjour, Vous avez des fleurs de courgettes?”    “Euh…. non, j’en ai plus, je les ai vendus au poissonier”   What?!   He had just sold all his zucchini flowers to the fishmonger!  I could hear my husband chuckling in the background, as undeterred, I tried another stand, still with no luck.

zucchini flowers and why I love them- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

I walked down the street from  the market despondent, shocked even.  How could my lunch plans go so badly wrong so early in the day?!      As I was heading back to the car, I felt someone tap on my shoulder.  It was Jean Pierre, smiling.    “My wife just arrived and she brought more courgette flowers if you are still wanting them”.  I very nearly kissed him there and then, but instead as we walked back to his stand, I listened carefully to his favourite recipe for the much desired fleurs de courgette.

Until today, I had  always deep fried the pretty yellow flowers in a light batter, but his recipe was a beautiful change that I thought you may enjoy too.

zucchini flowers and why I love them- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME


Allow 2 or three flowers per person, they have to be freshly picked early in the morning.  Pour a little olive oil into a frying pan and place a couple of crushed garlic cloves into the oil, followed by sufficient flowers to cover the base of the pan.  Turn up the heat and let the flowers cook for about 5 minutes without letting them brown.  Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave in peace for 10-15 minutes.   At this point remove them from the pan and keep to one side on a plate, while you cook the next batch.

When you are ready to eat, cut some thin slices of your favourite bread, pour a few drops of olive oil onto each slice then place a flower on each.  The combination of the flower, the olive oil and the bread is quite divine, and when I return to the market next week I’ll be thanking Jean Pierre for the recipe.

zucchini flowers and why I love them- MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME


I hope you are having a beautiful summer, full of family lunches, sunshine and good food! and if you want to tell me what your new favourite summer recipe is, then I’m listening!


WENDY CLEMENS August 22, 2018 - 1:04 pm

Hi Sharon. I share your love of courgette flowers – pumpkin too, they’re bigger! 😉 Try them sizzled in salted French butter instead of olive oil. Be very generous with the butter and let it brown around the edges a little, like in a beurre noisette sauce, then pour the lot over fresh bread – DIVINE!!!

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 10:52 am

oh my does that sound delicious! What a wonderful idea- thank you for sharing! Sharon

Taste of France August 22, 2018 - 1:32 pm

I have had this happen with my favorite tomates ananas–all sold by the time I arrived…at 8 a.m. And they are as sweet and delicious as the name–pineapple tomatoes–sounds.
The best way to ensure a supply of fleurs de courgettes is to grow them in your own garden! Or get invited to the fishmonger’s for dinner….
I look forward to trying Jean-Pierre’s recipe.

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 10:59 am

Isn’t it fun to try the different kinds of tomatoes to find your favorite? There is a stand here where they have 8 different kinds. oh and good suggestions on the fleurs de courgettes 😀 kindly Sharon

tracy brown August 22, 2018 - 1:39 pm

Our current fave is an old favorite- sliced Roma tomatoes topped with fresh mozzarella slices, a basil leaf and crushed pepper and coarse salt, drizzled over with olive oil. It could be my entire meal. My basil was pathetic this year but my daughter’s plants (next door) have been absolutely voluptuous!! Simple pleasures, right?

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 11:00 am

We’ve been eating this religiously – absolutely delicious x Sharon

Jenny August 22, 2018 - 1:40 pm

Hi Sharon, my husband and I love zucchini flowers as well. Thank you for this post and for sharing this recipe!
And Wendy , I’ll try sizzling them too in French butter.

Bonnie Gutierrez August 22, 2018 - 1:46 pm

My Italian grandmother used to prepare zucchini flowers when I was a child and now I am craving them! Thank you for sharing this new way of preparation. I am now on a mission to find some zucchini blooms!

Barbara Lilian August 22, 2018 - 1:47 pm

I seemed to have lost receiving your posts, than hey ho ! Up you popped, & what a joy to read about les fleurs de courgettes , I have loved eating them fried in batter, my daughter has them growing in her potager , so during the glut of courgettes like you she serves them for aperos . I’ll pass on your recipe from Jean-Pierre .

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 11:02 am

Enjoy 🙂 It’s certainly a winner x Sharon

Marianna Chryst August 22, 2018 - 2:07 pm

Just made some yesterday. I also use pumpkin flowers !!!!

Karen August 22, 2018 - 3:14 pm

While visiting Italy in April, eating zucchini flowers was among my goals, and I was not disappointed! Apparently, it’s never too late in the season to find them, either. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe, too.

Betsy Brother August 22, 2018 - 3:18 pm

I first learned of zucchini flowers during a total-immersion culinary vacation in Tuscany. In the typical Italian recipe, the flowers are stuffed with anchovies, breaded, and deep-fried. We, however, stuffed them with ricotta and sauteed in a fresh tomato sauce. I love the subtle anise flavor of these blooms. I can’t wait to try your French version!

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 11:03 am

This sounds lovely x Sharon

Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things August 22, 2018 - 3:44 pm

I usually stuff mine with goat cheese, batter then fry. This recipe sounds so much easier! Beautiful photos!

Chrissy August 22, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Sure hope they have zucchini flowers on Saturday s farmers market . I am going to try your recipe
I love zucchini flowers but me too , have always deep fried then . Thank you what are you serving for the rest of your lunch ? Have a great day ! I am still excited about my French box , thanks again Chrissy

Alice Genzlinger August 22, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Can’t wait to try your recipe as my plants are trying to produce themselves to death

Teresa Phillips August 22, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Much preferable way of cooking! Eliminates the batter and the high heat frying. Brilliant, must try.

cece August 22, 2018 - 4:48 pm

This would be the day that we would EVER find these! Our food in CA is so poor.

Judy Lambert August 22, 2018 - 5:06 pm

Sounds so delicious! We have only had deep fried zucchini flowers once when some friends came to Vancouver Island from Italy. We have been indulging in fresh figs which we delightfully have been growing since our trip to France and Italy!
Sliced baguette lightly toasted then spread with goat cheese, then fig preserves, topped with sliced figs. Drizzle a reduction of balsamic vinegar and then sprinkle with chopped chives. Delicious!

Kim August 22, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Beautiful post. I love zucchini blossoms! They are elusive and I simply cannot find them at my Farmer’s market. Tried growing them, but we have had prolific rains this summer. Will keep trying and have purchased a new batch of plants/victims. Less than pristine blossoms can be added to quesadillas. Lovely mushroom type flavor and the color is exquisite!

Shelagh August 22, 2018 - 7:22 pm

I will look for them at the Duncan Farmers Market. I have had them on Crete where they were served as a dolmades. Very unique substitution for a grape leaf.

Elaine August 22, 2018 - 7:27 pm

Only had male flowers on our courgette plants this year so pop on by!

Wendy August 22, 2018 - 7:35 pm

Thank you for your story and this delicious recipe!

Freddie Ann August 22, 2018 - 8:26 pm

Sounds delicious. I have never tried the flowers, don’t ask me why. We have always grown zucchini and love them, but never tried the flowers. Now that we have a recipe, will certainly give it a try. Sadly, are farmers markets do not even sell the blossoms. 🙁

Sharon Santoni August 31, 2018 - 11:04 am

I hope you have some in your garden 🙂 x Sharon

Leonore August 22, 2018 - 9:03 pm

I was just introduced to you by the Simple Sophisticate podcast. Can you tell me what the background music is on the Chatou Brocante Fair video? It puts a spring in my step and s smile on my face. Your voice pairs well with it also. Enjoyed the video so much. Thank you.

Susan August 22, 2018 - 10:06 pm

I have never heard of eating zucchini flowers! Not a Texas thing, I guess. Can’t wait to try ~ if I can find them.

Kelly Dodson August 22, 2018 - 10:30 pm

I love this dish and it’s a great way to use up tomatoes toward the end of the season. Here in the USA, I love to serve it when we are grilling steaks outside; it goes well with beef but also chicken.

1 pound each of yellow, orange and red tomatoes (heirloom varieties can also add extra color variation for the layers so feel free to improvise!). Peel and dice each color group and place in separate bowls to rest.
24 1-2 day old Croissants (there will be three layers of the croissants so I allow for 8 croissants for each layer). Cut into approx. 1” cubes.
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic (or chop several cloves and add to the oil, allowing time for the flavor to infuse the oil before tossing)
1 small container of whipping cream; cold bowl and cold mixer paddles
1 small container of cold plain Greek yogurt or sour cream or crème fraiche
Chopped Parsley or Chiffonier of fresh Basil
1 tbsp of either orange, lemon or lime zest
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toss your cubed croissants in the garlic olive oil and place levelly on a large baking sheet. Toast in a hot oven 350°F for 10-15 minutes, watching them carefully so that they don’t get too brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reserve the remaining oil/garlic for arrangement.
Arrangement: In the bottom of your trifle, place a layer of the cubed croissants. Next layer your diced red tomatoes – there should be enough to make a solid layer. Drizzle a small amount of the garlic olive oil on top of the tomatoes and lightly salt and pepper. Repeat layers with the orange (or whatever color scheme you are using) tomatoes on top. After drizzling the last of the oil, salting and peppering, carefully place the whipped topping as the last layer with your greens either folded in or sprinkled on the top.
Topping: In a mixer, whip a small container of whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Turning mixer to slower speed, add a small container of either plain Greek yogurt or sour cream or crème fraiche a little at a time until well incorporated into the whipped cream. Lightly salt and pepper the mixture. I usually opt to carefully fold in some citrus fruit zest and chopped parsley. You can opt to use chiffonier of fresh basil instead of the parsley . Do this step last as the cream will lose its form after it sits for awhile, especially if you are dining outdoors and it’s warm.
Serve just as you are preparing to dine!
Bon Appetit!

Tanja August 25, 2018 - 11:09 am

@Kelly, Thank you for sharing your recipe for a tomato trifle! I can’t wait to make & share it with friends. It will be perfect for dining al fresco during the last days of summer in Northern California.

monica o'malley-tavares August 23, 2018 - 3:11 pm

This looks delicious. I should have been doing this all summer. Ah well, there is always next…cheers

Bonnie Wood August 23, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Hi Sharon, Love the recipe for zucchini flowers!!! Never gave them a thought. I have tried some of the recipes in your French Country Home book though. My hubby and I loved the mushroom bake. I also tried your recipe for the asparagus. So good.Have a great day. Cool and cloudy here in Rhode Island in the USA. Take care. Bonnie Wood

Lenore August 23, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Well,. well, well….sounds like you need me living next door!!! I have zucchini flowers galore! I have had a wonderful garden this summer with lots of organic vegetables. I stuff my zucchini flowers with a variety of fillings. Lovely. Some day Sharon, I hope to get over there for a visit with you. I have been busy making and freezing basil pesto….Isn’t summer wonderful? The food, the flowers, and the beautiful sunshine. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and I absolutely love your photography. Wish I could spend a summer in France.

This & That: August 24, 2018 – The Simply Luxurious Life® August 24, 2018 - 6:02 am

[…] Santoni shares her recent excursion to the market to pick up Zucchini Blossoms and what she does with them – […]

Stephanie March 12, 2019 - 3:39 am

We are fortunate in Iowa to have them at our farmers market. I grow them for the flowers and then catch myself buying them at the market too! I’m curious to try pumpkin flowers! We put in cheese, fresh mozzarella wrapped with a basil leaf and tempura batter. Lovely.

Mumbai August 7, 2020 - 6:14 pm

you make me sooo jalous…this zuc.flower toast was my fav to aperitif but I coated the toast with a very soft goat cheese
called Malava, before I put the zucfl. on made like you do. Now living in Spain it is impossible to get the flowers. What are
they doing with them?…. They throw it away. What a pitty.


Leave a Comment