“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fried and Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Ciao a tutti!! For years, I heard my mother speak of Zucchini Flowers. They’re not as popular in the United States as they are in Italy, so getting your hands on them can be pretty difficult. You’re best trying a farmers market once they are in season. I only first tried Zucchini Flowers on my first trip to Italy in the summer of 2011. When my mother and I were in Rome that trip, we made sure to indulge in zucchini flowers every single day. Since then, anytime they’re in season, I buy them once a week and go to town. There are many ways to prepare zucchini flowers, toss them with some pasta, serve them on a white pizza, simply grill them…but my favorite way is to stuff them with ricotta and fry them. Very healthy, I know. But life is short so you gotta live a little! If you have never had zucchini flowers and can get your hands on a batch, I promise you, you will LOVE them!

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Makes 8-12 zucchini flowers

For the ricotta filling

½ cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasonings

For the batter

¾ cup of cornstarch
¼ cup flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 egg

For frying

1 ½ cups of neutral oil (Vegetable, canola or peanut)

Start off by cleaning your zucchini flowers. Check the insides for petals or small bugs (I know, it’s yucky, but they can sneak in there!) Rinse them and then pat them dry. In a medium bowl, add your ricotta, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, parsley and dried Italian seasonings. Mix until well combined. 

In a shallow dish or container, add your cornstarch, flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Lightly mix with a fork. In a bowl, crack and whisk your egg.  Take your zucchini flower and gently open it and add a tsp. of the ricotta mix, then roll it in the cornstarch mix and then dip in the egg. Set aside on a separate plate. Continue doing this until all of your zucchini flowers are covered. If you need more egg, you can always crack another. 

Prepare a medium size deep pot over medium-high heat and add your 1 ½ cups of oil. When the oil is heated, gently place in your zucchini flowers. Each flower should take around 3-5 minutes to fry. As they are each done frying, place them on a wire rack to cool, a wire rack will also help them avoid steaming up. There is a chance you may have some cornstarch mix leftover, so you will just have to throw it out. Eat right away while they are still nice, hot and crunchy!! Buon Appetito!! 

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