Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fried Zucchini Flowers

So I bought those beautiful zucchini flowers at the farmers market...

But what to do with them? The only way I've ever had them is lightly battered and fried, both stuffed with cheese and without. I looked around for some other recipe ideas and found frittatas, risottos, and a few other things...but nothing seemed as good as my original idea. I found both a recipe for batter, and some interesting info on - the blossoms I bought were male blossoms. The blossoms that are still attached to the squash are female blossoms.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold milk, beer, or water

Thoroughly mix together the dry ingredients, then whisk in the liquid of your choice (I went with beer). Cover with plastic and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

The batter had an almost dough-like quality. If the batter is too thick when you take it out of the fridge you can add a bit of water to loosen it up, which I did.

Next step - the filling. Zucchini flowers are traditionally filled with fresh ricotta, but I had a half of a big piece of burrata already so I decided that would be soft enough to do the trick. I chopped it up and broke it up with a fork so that it became mashed enough to spoon into the flowers. I used about 1/3 cup of cheese and mixed in a big pinch of salt - probably about 1/2 teaspoon.

And then I stuffed the flowers. I wouldn't say it was easy, but it wasn't that difficult either. It just takes some patience and precision, because the flowers are very delicate. I used about a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half of cheese for each one, depending on how big the flower was. After spooning the cheese in, gently twist the top of the flower to keep the contents inside. And don't forget to cut the stems off first. Leave just a little bit of stem to hold it by when dipping in the batter.

Finally, time to cook them. Pour enough canola oil in a saucepan to be about 1/2 inch deep, and heat over medium to medium-high heat. I don't know what temperature the oil was, but if you're not sure if it's hot enough just drop a little bit of the batter in and see how it cooks. It should turn golden brown quickly, in just about 10-15 seconds.

Dip the flowers in the batter and twist them around a bit to get them covered. You can let some of the batter drip off the flower if you don't want it to be too thick, or you can just go for it and put it right in the oil.

They cooked quickly. Really quickly. Probably about 30 seconds max and they were done. When finished cooking put them on a plate with paper towel to absorb the oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Mission accomplished! Truth be told, I was kind of worried about messing them up. Zucchini blossoms are something that never even crossed my mind to cook. They have such a short season so I hardly even see them for sale, and they are pretty much only available at farmers markets because they only last a couple days. And I just assumed they were very tricky to cook. But not so!

Several of the recipes I came across had more complex fillings. A lot of cheese mixed with herbs, garlic, spices...I wanted to keep the cheese filling really simple so that it didn't overwhelm the flower. And I think I achieved that. The batter was great, very simple and light. And just a little bit of salty, creamy cheese in the middle was perfect.

1 comment:

  1. !!!! Oh my! So pretty! And they look so delicious! I cannot wait to give this a whirl! Cheers!