Do you remember this picture? It is the zucchini plant I showed you a couple of weeks ago, the one that is taking over my front yard. Well, as it turns out, while I have been anxiously awaiting my first zucchini, I have been missing out on the bounty that this plant has been providing for weeks now. Namely these…
Zucchini blossoms. For years I have heard how good they are, but I have never had the chance to try them (they are not easy to come by at the grocery store). So when my zucchini plant started to blossom I...ignored them...it didn't really cross my mind to do anything with them.
Then the other day one of my work colleagues was munching on fried zucchini flowers during lunch. She let me try one and it was good, but as it was a cold leftover I was not overwhelmed. When I told her my zucchini plant was full of blossoms but I hadn't thought to do anything with them she was appalled (really she was, I thought it was kind of a strong reaction, but now I see why).
So, shamed, I went home and picked the flowers. I dutifully found a recipe and made them. They were good...so good! Honestly, one of the best things I have had in a long time. The batter was nice and crisp and the cheese filling was great but the flowers, they were amazing. It is hard to describe until you taste them. They are soft and delicate, as you would expect a flower to be, but still distinctive and flavourful. I'm hooked.
When I came home from work today I eyed my zucchini plant, willing it to produce just a few more of these gems...I don't want to think I have let the whole season go by with just one taste.
Pan-fried Zucchini Flowers
adapted from Food and Style
for the batter
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 large egg
1/4 cup beer
for the stuffing
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (Use whatever combination you like. I used Italian parsley, thyme and oregano)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
10-15 fresh zucchini flowers
1/2 cup olive oil for pan-frying
Mix the flour, salt and warm water in a small bowl. This is your batter. It should sit for at least a half an hour to rest, so set it aside while you prepare the flowers and stuffing.
In a second small bowl mix the egg, ricotta, shallot, herbs, salt and pepper until well blended and set aside.
To prepare the flowers – gently make a slit lengthwise in each flower and remove the stamen. Spoon a small amount of the stuffing (about 1 teaspoon) into the base of each flower and gently twist the petals so that the stuffing is held inside the flower. Place on a baking rack.
Once all of the flowers are prepared, add the egg and the beer to your batter. Mix until smooth.
Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet to high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, dip each flower in the batter and add them to the pan. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Flip the flowers and continue to sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until golden. Repeat until all flowers have been used, reducing the heat to medium-high when the pan is very hot so the oil doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.