Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Remember when I couldn’t stop talking about/eating/photographing artichokes? Gorgeous vegetables in season will do that to a girl. Fried, stewed, roasted...it was all about the artichoke.
Lately my lens/stomach/thoughts have turned to zucchini. Zucchini this and zucchini that. But I realized that I’ve never written about the zucchini dish I make and eat most often: fried zucchini blossoms.
It’s hard to avoid them this time of year in the market. And in my garden too, they are all over the place. Beautiful, bright yellow and orange flowers, ready to be taken into the kitchen and fried.
Because even if there are other delicious ways to eat them (see Melissa’s cheesy version here) in Rome they get deep fried. Every time.
While I usually don’t attempt frying at home, I make an exception for fried blossoms all summer long. I guess it’s the big delicious-to-ease ratio that I like (or is it small ratio? I’m always getting that wrong).
Anyway, they are super easy. And super delicious.
I also order them when I go out to eat, and did so recently at Gigetto’s. This time of year the waiters spend the morning prepping the delicate blossoms. The flower is gently opened, and the stamen is tweaked out.
While holding the flower delicately in one hand, the waiter picks up a cube of mozzarella and an anchovy fillet, and inserts them into the base. The flowers then wait patiently on a platter, ready to be fried up before coming out to the table.
If you happen by this restaurant anytime from about 10 to 11, stop by. The waiters are all set up in the front room, and are happy to give an impromptu stuffing lesson.
However, for the frying and eating part, you’ll have to stop by later and order a plate full for lunch.
Or else just whip up a batch at home. Your choice.
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
As with all fried things, as many as you make will get eaten.
12 Zucchini Blossoms
100 grams fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
6 anchovy fillets, cut in half
1.5 cups water
flour (about a half cup)
Zucchini Blossoms: They are usually pretty clean, so I don’t even wash them. Gently pry open the petals and nip the stamen out.
With the petals still open, gently place a cube of mozzarella and a piece of anchovy in each flower.
Close the flower back up and set aside.
Fill a shallow bowl with water. Slowly add flour, stirring with a fork. Keep adding flower until the batter is the consistency of crepe batter. In other words, very runny pancake batter.
When ready to cook, heat about 3 inches of olive oil in a frying pan.
Dip each flower in the batter, and let excess drip off. Place gently into pan with oil, and fry. Don’t over crowd. After a few minutes, turn and cook on the other side. They should be golden and take a total of 4 to 5 minutes tops.
Place on paper towels to drain, sprinkle with salt and serve.