Frying zucchini flowers at our house in Fiesole marks the beginning of summer for our vegetable gardens. The sun becomes hotter, the air a bit still, the soil starts cracking a bit during the day, and often gets blessed by a quick rain shower in the evening. Vegetables are getting ready for a final push before the August harvest, it is possible literally to smell the tomato and eggplant stocks, while nearby the zucchini and their flowers are already growing disproportionately fast.
In these early mornings, right before the sun starts inundating our fields, we arm ourselves with pocket knives and whicker baskets, and while holding in our hands our second cup of coffee of the day, we go pick up flowers. It’s a wonderful experience and a very generous bounty that happens about twice a week, as flowers keep growing throughout the life oz the entire plant… basically until you are ready to harvest the zucchini you can rely on flowers as often as you need them.
As always, consider this recipe and the main ingredient, then proceed as you prefer in terms of filling. My mom never used a filling while I was growing up, my grandmother did, my father liked anchovies in it, my wife hates anchovies, and the list goes on. Find your favorite filling, experiment with the batter, just make sure that you fry at the right temperature. Quick note about temperature: empty flowers cool off faster than filled ones, don’t get tricked too fast into your first voracious bite!
Finally, ask yourself how many fried zucchini you could eat during summer, right? I use them on pizza, in risotto and with eggs. I am sure more fun combinations are out there!