Monday, August 4, 2008

Fiori di Zucca Fritti - Fried Zucchini Blossoms

OK, first thing from the farmer's market to hit the pan will be those awesome zucchini blossoms. We enjoyed these during our honeymoon in Amalfi and came back with a mission to make the perfect fried zucchini blossom. Elizabeth's dad has supplied us with some great blossoms in the past and we were fortunate to find them at the farmer's market Sunday. Look at the size of these things?

Ok, the recipe is pretty simple and it's mostly technique. I changed a few things to make the batter crispier. First, you have to pluck the stamen from the center of the blossom and clean of any ants bugs or dirt that like to inhabit the blossom.

Make the batter...use about 1 cup of rice flour (you can find this at Asian markets or some Latin markets) and then 2-3 tablespoons of water...mix up a slurry/paste..,keep adding water in small doses until the batter clings to a fork and fills the spaces between the tines. Sprinkle in about 2-3 teaspoons of salt..the more salt you get into the batter means less salt on the finished blossom.

Dust each blossom in regular flour...this will help the batter stick. On the stove, get a pan of oil going with about a half inch of oil (olive or canola..your call)...not too hot (under 350 for sure if you're using olive oil).

When your oil's ready to go, place the blossom in the batter and spoon the batter over the delicate flower..coat the entire zucchini.

Place carefully into the hot oil. The batter will spread out a bit in the pan, but then firm up. As the batter edges brown, carefully turn the blossom to brown the other sides. It's all technique at this patient and try not to keep turning the blossom...when in doubt, let it go a little longer to get that crispy light brown color.

Rice flower will not get as brown as wheat flour batter, but it is so much crunchier and seems to create a flavorful coat.

Pull the blossoms and enjoy! You can stuff the cavity with goat cheese or mozzarella for an extra surprise...I like it, but sometimes it makes for a messier, tougher fry, so you may want to start with plain blossoms before stuffed.

C & E

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