Kitchen Garden Journal
- Published on Sunday, June 14, 2009, 04:00
The first blooms to open on the zucchini plants signal the arrival of summer. They are there to greet us every morning with a new profusion of sunny orange blossoms. These flowers we gather for frying, or for risotto or frittata. They have an essence all their own: the perfume of the squash plant; not floral, but richly vegetal.
By midsummer, zucchini elicits rolled eyes and ironic chuckles because of its relentless generosity. But those first fruits, plucked just at the point of perfect tenderness, before they swell with seeds and moisture, are truly among the highlights of the entire garden year. In our kitchen, it is a June ritual to combine them with the first basil in a creamy sauce for fusilli pasta.This year we are growing four varities of these summertime squashes. 1) Classic Italian zucchini with its lightly speckled and striped green skin. 2) Cousa squash, a pale green, teardrop shaped middle eastern type that is among the best tasting varieties and perfect for grilling. 3) Zephyr, a two-toned alternative to yellow squash with a green tip and nutty flavor. 4) Sunburst, a cheerful patty pan perfect for stuffing as canapes.