Fiori di Zucchini Fritti

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    8 to 10

Appears in

At the Osteria del Vicolo Nuovo in Imola, just outside Bologna, these fried zucchini blossoms filled with ricotta are among the menu offerings. The osteria, which is also an enoteca, is set in a sixteenth-century building with vaulted ceilings. Ambra Lenini and Rosanna Tozzoli run the front of the house, while Romana Poli is in charge of the kitchen. In the United States, zucchini blossoms were once a special treat reserved for home gardeners and habitués of farmers’ markets. But now these showy flowers are starting to appear in the produce section of some supermarkets. While they are delicious cut into strips and added to a frittata or risotto, Mother Nature designed them for stuffing. You can make a light batter for frying, or simply dip the blossoms in beaten eggs and then in flour.

Ingredients

  • 16 to 20 zucchini blossoms

Filling

  • cups (about ¾ pound) ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as basil, marjoram, and/or flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (all-purpose) flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ice water or chilled club soda, or as needed
  • Olive oil for deep-frying
  • Coarse salt

Method

Soak the zucchini blossoms in ice water for 30 minutes to crisp them. Drain carefully and pat dry. Alternatively, gently wipe the zucchini flowers with a damp paper towel. Carefully reach inside each flower and pinch off the stamens.

To make the filling, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and herbs in a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe the filling into each blossom. Pinch the tops closed and set aside.

To make the batter, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the water or club soda and whisk until smooth. The batter should just coat a wooden spoon. (If made in advance, refrigerate for up to 2 hours, then thin with more water or club soda if necessary.)

To fry the blossoms, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a deep sauté pan or saucepan and heat to 350°F. Holding a blossom by the stem end, gently dip it into the batter. Let the excess batter drain away, then quickly and carefully drop the blossom into the hot oil. Repeat, adding only a few blossoms at a time, as you do not want to crowd them in the pan. Fry, turning gently as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 4 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Repeat with the remaining blossoms. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve immediately.