It sounds a bit pretentious, but when I was studying abroad in Italy, I met up with a distant relative who showed myself and a few friends around the Italian countryside. She showed us the aqueducts, Bocca della Verita, this keyhole that when you peek through it all you see is the most manicured tree line path with the St. Peter’s Basilica at the focal point, and took us to dinner at a restaurant that overlooked a former volcano. While there, I had one of my all time favorite culinary moments – Fiori De Zucca Fritti or fried zucchini flowers.
Every year we attempt to grow zucchini in our garden. Despite our efforts, these are the plants in our bounty that usually don’t do that well – and yet we always try again. This year we were very confused as to why they didn’t take off when our eggplant and tomatoes would flourish, so to Google we went. According to the Internet, zucchini blossoms can be male and female. The female blossoms are the ones who, with the proper amount of pollination, will produce fruit; the male blossoms are less likely too, and in turn should be picked and eaten. If you are curious about whether your blossoms are male or female, look to the part of the plant where the blossoms meets the stem. If the stem is thick, you have a female. If it is thin, then it is male. So in summary, ours were male and in hindsight should have picked them and attempted to make fried blossoms. That was until I visited a local farmer’s market. While perusing the seasonal produce, I stumbled upon the holy grail of fried food dreams – a HUGE pack of squash blossoms. Without hesitation, I scooped up a box to add to my purchases – and I am so glad that I did.
Fiori De Zucca Fritti are a delicious, delicate, dish that since that moment I had dreams about but rarely seen in in restaurants since. Traditionally, they are stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, herbs, and sometimes anchovies or prosciutto. However, after talking to the farmer I purchased my blossoms from, I attempted a very simplistic version of this recipe.
What you need:
-all purpose flour
– olive oil
-Panko bread crumbs
- Rinse the blossoms and pat dry.
- Ever so delicately, open up the blossom. Slowly stuff the flower with goat cheese, make sure to pack it down inside of it (there is a lot more room than you’d realize).
- Peel back the petals, and taking opposing petals, gently – REALLY GENTLY – tie them together. Repeat with the remaining petals. If they tear, try lightly tucking the petals into one another.
- Once you have stuffed and tied all of your blossoms, roll in flour. You are able to eat the stems, however I left mine bare so they would act as a handle for picking up.
- After they are coated in flour, dip the blossoms into egg, and then into the breadcrumbs.
- In a heated skillet with olive oil, place your blossoms. They will fry relatively quickly, so stay close and be sure to turn them over once or twice.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool, and then enjoy!