MAKES 24 FLOWERS; SERVES 8 AS A SIDE DISH
24 fresh open zucchini flowers
3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup finely slivered (chiffonade) fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pick through the zucchini flowers to remove the stamens and check for bugs.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the Parmigiano, thyme, basil, and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed. Using a small teaspoon, stuff each blossom with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano mixture. Set them aside.
In a 14-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Place 6 flowers into the pan, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Place them on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining flowers.
Arrange the fried zucchini flowers on a platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.