Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

A Blooming Treat Urban Kitchen Group | based in San Diego, Calif.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff

Fried squash blossoms are a special treat in and of themselves, but the version at both Cucina Enoteca and Cucina Urbana (part of the Urban Kitchen Group) takes them to cult-favorite levels. Combining locally sourced produce with Italian traditions, the blossom is stuffed with whipped housemade lemon ricotta, then fried tempura-style and coated with lemon aïoli and opal basil pesto. “When you first bite into this, you have an explosion of flavor with the lemon ricotta inside of the delicate flower,” says Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli. “Each bite has a little different experience with texture and flavor, and you will be left wanting just one more bite.”

Magnanelli used to make the dish at a makeshift kitchen at the bar when Cucina’s predecessor, Laurel, offered Tapas Tuesday. “Seven years later, it’s still on the menu,” he says. “We’ve tried to change it over the years, but why mess with something that’s not broken?”

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