Summer Treat: Stuffed and Fried Zucchini Flowers

zucchini blossom start.jpg
Photos: Christina Uticone & Joshua Payne
I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York, with a significant Italian and Italian-American population. It wasn't until I was older that I realized many people don't consider a huge, steaming plate of linguine and white clam sauce a light snack on a hot summer day.

What I am trying to say is: the Italian kids ate a little differently, especially when we were in our grandmothers' kitchens. One of my favorite summer treats was -- and is -- fried zucchini blossoms; I particularly like them stuffed with herbed cheese. The blossoms have been readily available at the Saturday morning Urban Harvest Farmers' Market lately, and against my better judgment I'm going to share this recipe with you, even though I know it means I'm risking a blossom sell-out by the time I get to the market. These little appetizers are time-consuming, but well worth the effort.

You will need: Zucchini flowers (male--they have a stem but are not attached to a squash); AP flour; one egg; ice-cold water; salt; pepper; cream cheese or ricotta cheese; pecorino Romano; two-three cloves garlic, chopped; fresh, chopped herbs; frying oil.

zbatter.JPG
Step 1: Prep the batter

Make a simple batter using all-purpose flour, ice water, one egg, and salt. I don't use exact measurements, I simply combine the egg, water, and flour until I get the mixture to the approximate consistency of whipping cream--about ½ cup flour to ¾ cup ice-cold water. I add a couple of pinches of salt, mix, and set aside to let the batter rest. Some people chill the batter but I leave it at room temperature because I like the batter to be as thin as possible.

stamen.JPG
Step 2: Prep the blossoms

Gently open each blossom and carefully remove the stamen. I find that a pair of manicure scissors works well in this situation. Try not to rip open the flower petals, as they will keep the cheese inside the flower during frying.

My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
Carrie Jaeger
Carrie Jaeger

These look amazing!  Can't wait to try them.  Thank you for daring to share the recipe!

Matthew
Matthew

You might want to qualify that suggestion that people test the temperature of the oil with drops of water. Someone might get over zealous and give themselves some burns.

Sarah
Sarah

Gorgeous article!  Is there anywhere else you can get zucchini blossoms besides the farmer's market?  Thanks!

trisch
trisch

Add some anchovy to the cheese filling. So yum!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Unbelievable how good those look. Thank you for doing this!! I'm completely inspired now.

Mmuticone
Mmuticone

Your grandmother would be proud, my dear. Very proud.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

1. I think you just did that for me.

2. I'm not sure how much further I can qualify "a few drops of water". I think we're all grown-ups here. I don't need anyone to qualify a recipe about smoothies to tell me not to reach into the blender while the blades are moving, you know?

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Sarah, I noticed some at Revival Market over the weekend. Not sure how often they stock them, but there were several containers on Sunday afternoon just before closing.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I haven't seen any in stores, but you could check Whole Foods. (I don't get there much). If you have a friend who grows a lot of zucchini they might be willing to part with flowers to thin out the crop.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

My dad and I were talking about the recipe last night and he said my gram (his mom) used to use anchovy, but I don't recall her making them that way for us. I found a sweet potato filling online the other day that I plan to try soon.

Matthew
Matthew

i was trying to be diplomatic. i don't think even a few drops is a good idea, personally. i'd probably drop a little batter in there to see how it does. i've had some run-ins with moist food causing some major oil popping in the past. sometimes people do something without realizing the kind of violent reaction it can cost.

as for the fingers in the blender, how else are you supposed to make sure those chunks all get mixed in?!?

Sarah
Sarah

Thanks!  My hours are crazy and I never seem to make the Farmer's Market, but live right next to a Whole Foods.  I am positively excited about this recipe!

trisch
trisch

I just got back from holiday in Tuscany. We took a cooking class and made zucchini flowers multiple ways. For the fried ones, we stuck chunks of anchovy in the bottom of the flower and topped it up with cheese filling. It was quite a study in contrasts. A bit much for me, but I would have loved it with a lighter touch.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...