Zucchini Flowers Fried and Stuffed

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Buon giorno!

It’s that time again! Time to start harvesting those early jewels from the garden – the Zucchini Flowers. Some call them Zucchini Blossoms  or Fiori di Zucca– one and the same. For those familiar, ZUCCHINI FLOWERS, FRIED AND STUFFED are an experience one always remembers. For those who haven’t tried them – now is the time – whether from your garden or in a local farm to table restaurant, they are a must when in season. The season is not a long one, so don’t wait.
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These made my “favorites list” a long time ago, when my mother Loretta first introduced me to them after plucking them from our vegetable garden in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. They are a traditional dish served in the region of Lazio where my mother’s family came from. Now that I am doing my own cooking and creating in the kitchen, I have taken her fried blossoms – fritter-like with a heavier batter than most – one step further and stuffed them with goat cheese. Oh my!
Those who have ever tasted a fried zucchini or squash flower will tell you how delicious they are. Anyone can have these flowers, as zucchini is easy to grow and will grow in pots if you don’t have a garden. The zucchini plants just pump these lovelies out like crazy. Caution though – if you want to actually harvest  zucchinis, you must only pick the male flowers to eat. Differentiating is easy – the male flowers grow on regular little green stems. Female flowers which should remain in the garden have a swollen little zucchini growing and attached to them. It is best to clip the flowers in the morning as that is when they are open and ready. Just place them in a glass of water, and prepare your little feast. Remember to remove the little center pistil inside each flower. The flowers are often available at Farmer’s Markets, but keep in mind that they are among the first things to go. Plan to go early if you seriously want to find any. Prepare them ASAP after you get home!

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zucchini in the garden
ZUCCHINI FLOWERS, FRIED AND STUFFED
              (WITH LINDA’S STUFFING AND LORETTA’S BATTER!)
LINDA’S STUFFING
Makes: approx 8

Prep: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Ricotta cheese

4 Tbsp. Goat Cheese

3 Tsp. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 Tbsp. Chopped Golden Raisins or 2 tsp. Anchovies

1 Tbsp. Chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

Instructions:

Mix together above ingredients. Use Golden Raisins for an unexpected sweet burst in your mouth or the Anchovies if you prefer a savory flavor. Place a little ball inside each flower. Gently gather the petals around the ball and twist the top a little. This kind of seals it.

Stuffed blossoms

Then dip each “little package” into the batter described below and fry!

LORETTA’S BATTER

Makes: 8-12

Prep: 5-7 minutes

Cook: Less than 1 minute

(If you don’t have that many flowers, you can fry other vegetables or even banana slices using the batter or make little blinis or pancakes which are delicious!)

Ingredients:

8-12 zucchini or squash flowers – center Pistils removed -again you can do fewer and use the remaining batter for other goodies

Olive Oil for frying

½ c. milk

1 beaten egg

¼ tsp. salt

½ Tbsp. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Black Pepper

1 tsp. Baking Soda

½ c. Flour

1 Tbsp. Chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

Instructions:

Whisk above ingredients together and dip each flower – stuffed or not stuffed depending on your preference.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan – you don’t need much- you are not deep frying.

Dip each flower in batter, covering completely. I like to use tongs. Drop in hot oil. Sides should bubble up and sizzle if oil is hot enough.

Flip with a spatula.

Takes just several seconds for each side.

Lay each one on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Best to eat right away while warm and slightly crisp. Do not let them sit around.

There you have it! ZUCCHINI FLOWERS, FRIED AND STUFFED with Linda’s Stuffing and Loretta’s Batter. How can you miss?

PARLA COME MANGI!

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LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE

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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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