Recipes   /   Fiori di Zucca Fritti – Fried Zucchini Flowers

Fiori di Zucca Fritti – Fried Zucchini Flowers

Jul 9, 2020 by Gabriele Corcos

DIFFICULTY

 

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!

16 zucchini flowers
1 cup ricotta cheese (fresh is best)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 handful fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
Vegetable oil, for frying

1Use your fingers to carefully dig a hole on the side of each zucchini flower, opening it enough with your pointer finger to dig out the stamen that is inside. 2Gently rinse the flowers under a sprinkle of cold water, taking care to not damage the thin petals, then spread them out on a kitchen towel and gently pat dry.

3In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and lemon zest. Fill a piping bag with the mixture. Carefully pipe 2 to 3 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture into each flower, twist the petals to close tightly so the cheese won’t escape during frying.

4In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, parsley, a couple of generous pinches of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Slowly start pouring the beer into the mixture, using a whisk or a fork to mix the batter, and work it enough to eliminate any lumps.

5In a heavy skillet, pour in enough oil to come up a half inch , but no more than half-way up the sides. Heat the oil over high heat until a deep-fry the ometer reads 35o°F.

6Drag the flowers through the batter, making sure the batter does not get inside the flower, then slide into the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the blossom is golden and crisp. Then place them in a large dish on a couple of layers of paper towel to drain the excess oil. Salt to taste while the oil is still hot. Serve immediately.

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