Of all my (many) favourite things to eat, delicate and beautiful zucchini flowers are very high on the list. Eating them takes me back to Rome immediately and somehow soothes my seemingly daily longing for Italy. We still have quite a bit of time before it is summer in the southern hemisphere but when I saw a tweet from Ethical Co-op that they had the flowers on the delivery list for the week I had to order some.
I immediately tweeted my friend Hande in Rome to ask her advice on what was the best way to prepare them and she suggested stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy and recommended I use the batter recipe from her friend Rachel to dip them in. I have used a ricotta stuffing before which tasted great but I think the anchovy and mozzarella combination is fantastic. The saltiness of the anchovy just marries perfectly. Even for non anchovy lovers like myself.
The only proviso with this dish is that it has to be eaten straight out of the hot oil, scattered with some sea salt and a good squeeze of lemon.
- To serve 4 people you will need about 16 flowers
- 16 small pieces of mozzarella
- 8 anchovy fillets cut in half
- oil for frying
- Batter (from Rachel Eats):
- 100g flour
- 200ml warm water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 egg whites beaten to very stiff peaks
- Remove the pistils (female flowers) and stamens (male flowers) from the flowers. Gently wash the flowers in a bowl of cold water and pat dry.
- Whisk the water and flour and add the olive oil. Let the batter rest for 2 hours in the fridge.
- Stuff each flower with a piece of mozzarella and anchovy. Gently squeeze and twist the petals together to make a small parcel.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold in the rested batter with a metal spoon. Add the pinch of salt.
- Heat the oil to about 190 degrees C. Test the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil. If it browns after about a minute it is ready. Dip the flower in the batter and place in the oil to fry until puffed and a golden colour. Fry about 4 at a time.
- Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place the fried flowers on kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, squeeze some lemon juice over it and eat immediately.