Summertime is here and so are those beautiful abundant, flowering, rampant plants called zucchini. They truly are a gift to our planet as each part of the plant readily gives itself to the gardener/cook to be used up for nourishing goodness.
I personally love the flowering golden trumpets that pop open each morning. They are just calling out to all of creation- pick me, pick me, pick me. And so the bees pick away, and so do I.
If you are new to zucchini blossoms the plant has both male and female blossoms.
The females are attached to the fruit itself, while the male blossoms are found on the long green stems.
The male blossoms tend to lend themselves better to frying and eating than the females, but you can do both if you want. One nice thing the male offers is the long stem that you can use to dip them into the batter and then into the oil.
In Italian the batter is called pastella, and can be done in a variety of ways. The simplest is basically flour and water mixed up to a consistency of sour cream. However, I love a good beer batter for them (and yes I am from Wisconsin, so everything in beer always tastes better).
So gather up your blossoms and lets get to it.
The first thing to work on is the batter, as it needs about 30 minutes to rest. In a large mixing bowl mix together the following: 100g of flour (I prefer the ’00’ doppio zero flour as it is so light), one organic egg, salt, and of course a 1/2 pint of beer (I prefer a good pilsner- Peroni is always good). Mix this up and let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile get a pan going with a good amount of vegetable oil in it, and turn it up! You need it hot! You can test to see if it is ready by dropping in a bit of batter, and if it starts bubbling and crisping up you are good to go.
For the stuffing the sky’s the limit. Most stuffings will include ricotta cheese of some sort. One of my favorites is ricotta cheese with chopped mint and lemon zest. About one cup of ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of chopped mint, and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon zest with a little salt will stuff 12-20 blossoms or so (depending on their size).
Once stuffed, grab your batter and start dipping. The magic is just about to begin! Drop each one carefully into the oil without overcrowding the pan and start frying them up. Once the underside is fried to a golden crisp, turn it over and do the other side.
Carefully remove them with some tongs and place on a drying rack or on paper towels. They are good both piping hot and at room temperature.