Mar 25, 2009

Fiori di Zucca Fritti - Fried Zucchini Blossoms

There have been millions of words written on the zucchini flower. The forerunner of the ever-burgeoning mottled cylinder, is edible. More than edible, they're delicious in an Earth Mother kind of way.

©E.Baldwin

That which some just chuck away as waste, can in fact become this delectable antipasto, or be part of a pasta condiment or even a salad element (I never disdain fresh flowers tossed in with my salad greens). Now that they're starting to bud on farmer's markets everywhere, gather those blossoms while you can and prepare for yet another true Roman taste bud epiphany.


15 zucchini blossoms 
4 salted anchovy fillets (optional) 
200 g (1 cup) mozzarella, diced 
100 g (1/2 cup) unbleached all purpose flour 
Sparkling water or beer, chilled
Oil for frying 
Baking soda 
Salt

Trim pistils and stems off the flowers, paying extra attention not to break them, they are very delicate. Wash the blossoms carefully with water and baking soda, rinse with plenty cold water and pat dry with paper towel.

Cut the mozzarella in strips and finely chop the anchovies (if you're using them). Stuff each blossom with some mozzarella and a dab of anchovy mash, and uncork a bottle of white Colli Albani wine.

In a mixing bowl, blend a glass of chilled sparkling water, flour and salt until fluffy and add a pinch of baking soda for an even lighter batter. If you like you can use chilled beer in place of the sparkling water.

Dip the stuffed flowers in the batter open side up and deep fry in scalding olive oil in small batches, until golden.
Briefly park on paper towel and serve hot with the remaining wine, if any is left.


28 comments:

  1. Now that is something I have always wanted to try. Thanks, Lola.xx♥

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  2. You're welcome, Natalie!
    Con affetto, the keeper of the crunch.

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  3. I love these ! In fact I grow zucchini especially for the flowers. Don't know why they turn out too oily when i make them. I'll try your recipe. Thank you!

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  4. Scintilla - that may be due to the absorbant batter you make, try the lightweight version I suggest. Also, temperature is key: piping hot oil + freezing cold batter for temperature shock = crisp and feather-weight crust. Ciao!

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  5. Lola, what an utterly lovely blog you have! I only wish I knew enough Italian to be able to understand your other blog. We love Italy to death. We had a fantastic time in Rome, Naples and the Amalfi coast a couple of summers ago. It must be such great fun to live there. Sigh.

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  6. Oh, and thank you for this recipe. Once the farmer's market starts back up here, I'm going to try making these.

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  7. Wow, my husband is so making this for me tonight. YES!!!!

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  8. Sujatha - thank you for stopping by to say hello. Italy holds a conflicting place in my heart. I love it, it is my home, but it is also a tormented land of poets and ruffians. To overcome those hiccupping spurts of un-love, I write about its wonders, to find them anew. The food helps me too. Come back soon for more!

    Kelly - Thank you for visiting, I am truly honored. I admire your writing very much.
    Your husband cooks? And you decide the menu? She's intelligent AND lucky...

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  9. Oh, I bet those are devine! And not one calorie...amazing.

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  10. ohhh, this looks so good! I am glad I found your blog. I am trying to learn how to cook too (I even have a blog about that as well).

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  11. You're making me hungry. Unfortunately for me, I have to wait a while before I can plant and harvest these beautiful fiori.

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  12. Gorgeous and so delicious-looking. I want one.

    Note to self: read Lola's blog after a meal, not when hungry.

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  13. Yes, like Lakeviewer said we have to wait awhile for these. And then run when they appear at the farmers market, there are not alot to be had. I love the zuchinni, in every way,shape or form. Thanks Lola

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  14. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Ruth

    http://muffinsnow.com

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  15. Yes, Tessa, do that!! Lola is amazing! Thanks for the recipe, Lola. I never knew what to do with the beautiful zucchini flowers. But what do you use to fry them in? A simple pan, or does it have to be a friteuse (which I don`t have)?

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  16. Erin - Unfortunately when you deep fry air, you get calories. But these are too good to pass up.

    Elizabeth - Good for you! I'll be checking it out soon (is it visible on your profile?)!

    Rosaria - Full-fledged forager, eh? Well, in the meantime you can take a walk around the farmer's market...

    sallymandy - Correct note to self: read Lola's blog BEFORE grocery shopping.

    Lori - California hasn't discovered the Z-flower power yet? Really? It is the easiest and quickest growing plant (and a quite pretty one too).

    Ruth - Thank you for stopping by to say hello, you are always welcome. Now I will peruse the muffinsnow.

    Angela - A friteuse would be great, but who has one?! I use a deep frying pan with lots of oil. I do small batches at a time, so the oil doesn't cool down. And if the remaining oil is not too murky afterwards, I recycle it for future frying. I do that except with fish. Ciao!

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  17. Yes! the flower is there, thats the problem,everyone wants them to make in this way, so they are scarce at the market! someday when i have more time(soon i hope?) i'll plant my own :)

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  18. Lola! I love you! I've wanted to know how to do those since I very first tasted them. And where, you may wonder was that? In Rome - your Roma! It was in a restaurant in the Jewish Quarter - we'd been exploring all morning and found ourselves in a lovely piazza near the old synagogue. It was there we had lunch...and our first plate of Fiori di Zucca Fritti!

    I've used the flowers in salad, but never knew until now how to do them in batter. Thank you for sharing that delicious recipe.

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  19. Lori - Plant them near a trellis, they curl and creep wonderfully, you'll see.

    Tessa - I know the place exactly. I love that area. The square is near the synagogue and by the ancient ruins of the Porta San Pancrazio, right? There's a delightful little ice-cream place around there that makes the most awesome artisanal gelato in the universe...

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  20. Can I ask you a favour? If you are inclined, would you be so kind as

    to pop over to http://style.la-mimi.com/weekly-fashion-idol/vote-for-your-favorite-fashion-idol/

    I just would love if you would vote for your favourite. Better if you vote for me. :)

    Thank you

    The Seeker

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  21. I'm dying to try these. Yours look great.

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  22. Hello,
    I was in Naples with a friend's family and the mother made this pasta with the zuchini buds, before they even opened as a flower, it was so wonderful, do you know how to make that??

    Thanks!

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  23. I love squash blossoms so much that this year I went squash blossom crazy! I planted squash only for the blossoms and I would pick them in the early morning and fry them for breakfast.

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  24. I love squash blossoms! So much so, that this year I planted a few just for the blossoms :)

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  25. Have just found your wonderful blog even though I have subscribed to Italiannotebook.com since it's inception. I took a cooking class in Rome on my last visit and we made the zuchinni blossoms coated with flour, yeast and egg whites..unbelievable light and crispy!

    I loved them so much I planted 4 zuchinni plants-along with brocolli, tomatoes, lettuce, fennel, spinach and articokes...my first vegetable garden!

    Looking forward to perusing your site many times to come! Grazie Mille!

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  26. Denise,
    thank you for your visit and kind comment. The tempura-like batter you mention is also very light and crisp, I agree. How wonderful, you have a vegetable garden, you are very lucky!

    Please make yourself at home here, and please feel free to dig thru my archives.

    Ciao
    E.

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  27. Just came home from the Farmers Market with the most gorgeous bunch of zucchini blossoms - guess what I'm making tonight!!! If I don't have sparkling water will that be a problem?

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    Replies
    1. Ciao Rosemary! Sorry to reply this late...
      If you don't have sparkling water, you can use beer, or just plain water - provided it be extra chilled :)

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