Zucchini Blossoms, Cretan Style
30 zucchini blossoms
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 scallions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint or dill
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
Soak the stems in cold water overnight, without soaking the blossoms. The following day, wash and drain on a towel. Cut off and discard the stems without breaking the blossoms, and set the blossoms aside while you make the filling. Heat the oil and sauté the scallions until soft. Add the garlic and rice and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the tomatoes, herbs, and enough water to cover the rice, then season with salt and pepper and the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, and remove from the heat.
Using a teaspoon, stuff each blossom carefully, holding it in the palm of one hand. Then close it and lay it on its side in a buttered flameproof casserole large enough to accommodate all the blossoms. Continue until all are filled.
Pour 1 cup of warm water into the casserole. Invert a plate over the flowers, then cover the casserole and simmer over lowest heat about 1-1/2 hours. Check every 30 minutes to see if more water is needed; if so, add warm water (it should all be absorbed when cooked). Serve with poultry, meat or fish dishes, or as a delightful first course.