Yesterday morning when I looked out at my small garden I saw two gorgeous zucchini blossoms poking out of the planter. I ran out and marveled at the fact that I did indeed have small zucchini attached to these great big flowers. I was off to the farmers’ market with visions of these beauties in my head and the first stand that I stopped at had a huge pile of blossoms on display. I knew I had to buy a bunch and fry them up for an appetizer. Actually, buying them motivated me to ask a few friends over for dinner. I figured if I was going to stuff them and fry them up, we may as well share them!
I like to stuff these with ricotta cheese and a little bit of fresh mozzarella. I had some prosciutto in the fridge so I diced it up and threw in along with some shredded basil. The batter is simple-some flour and salt mixed with either cold water or beer. The key element to successful frying is to make sure that the oil is hot enough, so I like to use a thermometer to know that it’s reached 350 degrees before I start dropping them in. You can also just stuff them with mozzarella and maybe an anchovy or two as in The Antipasto Table. I’m including the recipe for the batter from this favorite book.
Fiori di Zucchini Ripieni
For 24 squash flowers:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cold water
Gently spread the petals of each squash flower and pinch out the stamen. Holding the flower by its stem, quickly dip one at a time into a bowl of cold water. Pat the flowers dry and place them open end down on a towel to drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Add the water and stir just until smooth. Set aside while you stuff your flowers. I like to spoon in the filling and pinch the petals closed and twist the ends slightly to seal.
Fill a deep fryer or a heavy, deep saucepan with oil and heat to 350-375 degrees. Stir the batter and carefully dip the flowers in it to coat thoroughly. Drain off the excess batter. Fry the flowers in batches, turning them until they are golden on all sides, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the flowers to a paper towel to drain. Serve immediately.
The first photo is not from my farmers’ market, but was taken by my good friend V., I think in Italy.