When next door Nonna gifts you 6 fiori di zucchini (fresh zucchini flowers) following your interest in photographing them in her orto, it would be madness to look a gift horse in the mouth and not take up her cookery challenge of deep fried stuffed zucchini blossoms!
Sadly all those traditional ingredients, mozzarella and anchovies that you normally tuck into these delicate golden flowers before deep frying were missing from my kitchen cupboards so it was a case of improvisation. Abruzzo has a wonderful frying cow cheese, Formaggi di piastra, available to buy in thick slices and reminiscent of Greek halloumi less the mint, so I used some of this and added some finely chopped capers and mint in a nod across the sea to Greece.
How gorgeous was this version of vegetarian stuffed courgette flowers, enough for my partner who’d never eaten them before to remark on what a sensual delicacy they were for lunch, a real treat, or course he is Scottish and anything deep fried will win him over but that phrase “sensual treat” is practically unknown!
- 6 Zucchini Flowers
- 80g sifted 00 flour
- 1 egg
- 180 ml carbonated water
- 30 ml Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Groundnut oil for frying
- (The batter is enough for 15 flowers in all)
- 1 slice of Formaggi di piastra finely chopped or 3 slices of halloumi cheese
- Allow 2 capers per flower finely chopped
- 1.5 mint leaves per flower finely chopped
- In a large mixing bowl add the batter ingredients, whizz with a hand blender, you should have a thick coating batter and leave to stand in the fridge for half an hour.
- Mix your stuffing ingredients together; using a teaspoon and fingers push the cheese mixture into the flower cavity before the petals begin separating, don’t overfill!
- Lay the zucchini flower into the batter and with your fingers coat the tops of them in the batter.
- Heat the groundnut oil on a high heat, test to see if it is hot enough by adding a teaspoon of batter, it should sizzle. Remove the excess batter from the zucchini flower and add into the hot oil. The batter will puff up, taking approximately 1 minute on each side.
- Dry on a kitchen towel and eat with fingers.