Tony, this is for you. No, not for my cousin, Tony, who nearly demanded a standing ovation when he first added lettuce to his tacos (today he has a highly sophisticated palate). This for the Tony who came to dinner two years ago and warily picked up a stuffed, fried zucchini blossom. “It’s a what?!” you asked. “A zucchini flower,” I replied. I think I noticed you scoping out the exits, but you bravely took a bite. I think you enjoyed it.
And how could you not? Zucchini blossoms taste mildly and sweetly of zucchini. Stuffed with a mild goat cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, they are beer battered and fried. Think of it as a zucchini popper! This is Italian bar food, crisp and sprinkled with sharp flakes of sea salt. An indulgence to be sure, but pure gastronomic pleasure!
For those of you worried about a lost generation of zucchini, pinched off the vine at the start of their lives, sleep soundly. We only harvest the male flowers. The female ones go onto produce beautiful summer squashes. We’ll slice, bread and fry those later.
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
The best way to remove food from hot fat is with a spider. Seriously, go into a cooking store and ask for one. They won’t laugh at you. If they do, tell them that your big brother is going to beat them up. Then give me a call.
- Olive oil for frying*
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounce chilled beer or club soda
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup mild goat cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cream
- 2-3 tbs fresh herbs – tarragon, mint and parsley are wonderful
- 24-ish zucchini blossoms
- Sea salt
*Look for cooking grade olive oil in the grocery store. I wouldn’t touch it for sautéing, but it’s perfect, and cheaper, for deep frying.
- Heat 2″ oil to 350 degrees in a 6 qt pot. Check temperature with a deep frying or candy thermometer.
- Mix together goat cheese and enough cream to make it pipeable from a pastry bag. Stir in fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add a pinch of cream of tartar, is needed, to get them started.
- Using a pastry bag or ziplock bag with a corner cut off, pipe the cheese into the zucchini blossoms. Gently twist the filled flowers closed at the top. This will be immensely frustrating the first time. Forgive your inexperience, drink the rest of the opened beer, and keep going.
- Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in beer just until smooth. Don’t overwork. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
- Roll a few flowers in the batter and gently shake off excess. Place them in the hot oil, being sure not to overcrowd. Cook them until golden, flipping once. Be careful not to burn.
- Remove them to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Return the oil to 350 and fry the remaining flowers in batches.
- Eat them while nice and hot. Drink lots of chilled Prosecco. Or Rosé. Discuss how fabulous and blessed your life is.