Friday, September 7, 2012

Fiori di zucca fritte

The Italians are masters at cooking with what's in season, and frying stuffed zucchini blossoms is a fine example. These tasty little morsels are the ultimate treat in the summer, and use the flowers of zucchini, squash, or pumpkin. You'll also see this in the Provençal region of France as well. It's one of those low budget peasant foods that end up in pricey restaurants.

Pick your blossoms early in the morning and pull out the stamen, stuff with cheese before the flower closes up. There are countless ways to stuff the flower (some don't stuff at all) and most Italian Nonnas will tell you to use an herbed ricotta cheese for this, but I like to use a less watery, herbed goat cheese. Mama Mia... my Nonna Angelina is probably rolling over in her grave right now. I mix a young goat cheese and some herbed Boursin cheese (which gives a hint of garlic), lemon zest, and some chopped herbs such as chives and parsley. Then I dip in a batter of egg, flour, soda water and salt and pepper, and fry it quickly. The blossoms are crunchy on the outside and creamy in the center. Lucious.

photo, Dan Ryan (taken in Italy)

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