Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fried Zucchini Blossoms--Welcome Summer

Always curious of new foods, I have been dreaming of trying zucchini flowers for a long time. In Italy in this season they are sold in any regular food markets, packed in plastic boxes to protect the delicate blossoms. In my area even the most fancy food stores never carry them and at certain farmers markets you can have them sometimes as a special order.

Desperate to find out what this delicacy is about, early this spring I bought two small zucchini plants and grew them in my yard. Two weeks ago, almost exactly with the arrival of the summer, they started to bloom. At first, just three to four flowers on each plant, but recently they have been blooming boldly, enough finally to make the whole dish from them.

Zucchini blossoms are indeed very delicate. Early in the morning they open they flowers, to close them later in the day, and to fade away for good already the next day.

There are many recipes for zucchini blossoms in French and mostly in Italian cuisine--pastas, risottos, stuffed and fried. But since I had no experience with them whatsoever for my first step I chose the simplest dish for fried zucchini blossom in wine batter, which I found in an Italian culinary magazine .

Last week on a perfect sunny day I prepared a vegetarian lunch and as one of the dishes I served my first zucchini blossoms. And I became a great lover of them. They were similar to artichokes, delicate but intriguing in taste, and I cannot wait to try the next dish with them.

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

12-16 large zucchini blossoms,
1/3 cup all purpose flour.
1/4 cup sparkling water,
1/4 white wine, preferably sparkling
1 tbsp sunflower oil,
1/2 cup olive oil for frying,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Wash gently zucchini blossoms in cold water, shake off gently excess water and let them dry on a paper towel.
2. In a medium bowl mix water and wine. Using a whisker or hand mixer add gradually flour and beat until it makes a smooth batter. Pour in sunflower oil, and season with salt and pepper. Try the thickness of the batter--it should be as thick as heavy whipping cream. If it is too liquid add an extra tbsp or two of flour.
3. Let the batter to rest in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
4. Heat the olive oil in a medium heavy duty frying pan. Dip each blossom in the batter holding it by the stem so the batter coats evenly the whole flower. Place them one after another in hot oil

5. Fry them on a medium high heat for about 3 minutes, until each of them becomes slightly gold, then turn them, one by one, and fry on the other side.

6. Place fried blossom on the paper towel to absorb the extra oil and serve immediately, still warm.