Zucchini blossoms are always a surprising hit on our Foodie Trips to Tuscany and Umbria. More often than not, they are a new experience for our travelers. In Italy, they are a mainstay. The male flowers grow on a short stem and are mostly a by-product (leave a few on the plant for pollination). Female flowers grow off from the zucchini fruit itself, and can be used for this recipe, but you will be sacrificing the fruit if you harvest them too early. Zucchini blossoms most simply are dipped in a batter and fried. I like to fill the flowers with a vegetable-ricotta filling before battering them.
Zucchini blossoms are almost always available in the produce sections at the local supermarkets in Italy, at least during the times we travel in the early spring and late fall. The first step is to gently open the flower buds and pinch and remove the stamen from the interior-bottom of the flowers. See the top picture in this post.
Next is the filling which is a mixture of roasted red bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, eggs and bread crumbs. Each blossom is filled with a Tablespoon of the filling and gently pressed to close it. The batter is somewhere between a tempura batter and a beer batter in consistency and is made up of flour, cornstarch, club soda and whipped egg whites.
Dip the blossoms into the batter and drain off excess batter. Place the battered blossom into canola oil heated to 350-degrees F. and fry them until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve.
Zucchini BlossomsCourse: AppetizersCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
1 red bell pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized zucchini, small diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, oil cured and small diced
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
canola oil for frying
24 zucchini blossoms
Crispy Batter (recipe below)
Basil Vinaigrette (optional)
- Crispy Batter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
18 ounces club soda
4 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
- Burn the skin of the bell pepper over an open flame and place in a paper or plastic bag to steam for 3 minutes. Peel away the charred skin. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and stem. Cut into a small dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the diced zucchini and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the diced roasted pepper and small diced sun dried tomatoes. Toss well and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- When the vegetable mixture is cooled, add the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolk, basil and bread crumbs. Mix together until well combined. Season with salt and white pepper.
- Heat 2-inches of canola oil to 350-degrees F. in a tall-straight sided sautoir pan.
- Remove the stamens from the zucchini blossoms and fill each blossom with a Tablespoon of filling.
- Gently enclose the filling and dip a few of the blossoms into the Crispy Batter mixture.
- Ease the battered blossoms into the heated oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp.
- Drain the blossoms on paper towel, sprinkle with Kosher salt and serve with optional vinaigrette. I make my vinaigrette with shallots, basil, e.v.o.o., red wine vinegar and s&p.
- Crispy Batter
- Mix together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Whisk in the club soda and fold in the whipped egg whites.