As much as we all try to repress it, there is a deep-fried foods lover within each of us. From the crackling sounds of hot oil to the deeply golden and gloriously crispy bits of batter that melt so beautifully in your mouth, frying is a culinary technique revered by almost every culture.
Zucchini Blossoms are the edible flowers of the zucchini plant, yet they don’t taste anything like the vegetable. These rather bland-tasting buds are commonly used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine, where they are prepared in a multitude of ways, but can you guess which one is perhaps the most popular? If you guessed fried, then you’re correct! As the zucchini blossoms are shaped like a bulb, they can serve as a vessel for any filling of your choosing. I used a leftover kale and ricotta mixture which I had made for homemade tortellini a couple of days before. It was marvelously delicious back then, so I knew that it would also work wonderfully in here.
The best part of any deep-fried creation would have to be the batter. I used a recipe from Anne Burrell which is a simple blend of all-purpose flour and white wine. This combination is nothing sort of pure genius. Being reminiscent of a tempura batter, it’s perfectly light when fried, and the white wine creates a slightly effervescent feel in the mouth. It all builds up to a truly marvelous feeling because you can eat quite a few of these blossoms without the sensation of bricks sitting in your stomach. Served as an appetizer or used as a salad topper, these stuffed zucchini blossoms are not only gorgeous, but they make an elegant addition to any summer table.
Batter Recipe from Anne Burrell
- 12 zucchini blossoms
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of your favorite ravioli filling (See the Method section for more clarification)
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the batter by mixing together the flour with 1/2 cup of the wine. Mix till the batter has a loose consistency, adding more wine if necessary.
Next prepare the zucchini blossoms. Begin by opening the flowers and removing the stamens (that would be the stalk-like part inside the flower). As far as the filling is concerned, I am leaving that largely up to you. The zucchini flowers are simply a pocket which can be filled with any sort of cheese and greens mixture. I used ricotta cheese and kale, but other combinations such as fresh mozzarella and basil or goat cheese and mint would be wonderful too. You could also fry the zucchini blossoms on their own without filling to create a crunchy garnish for pastas and salads.
Heat about an inch of canola oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. To check if the oil is hot, drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil. If the drop of batter rises to the surface instantly, then the oil is ready. Dip the zucchini flowers into the batter and then fry them in the oil on both sides for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle them with a salt and pepper before serving if desired.
- Zucchini Blossoms can be a little tricky to find in the U.S. Check your local farmer’s market during the summertime. If you grow zucchini in garden, plant a little extra next time so that you can harvest the blossoms before they transform into the vegetable.