A quick dip of freshly picked zucchini or summer squash blossoms into a tempura batter, then into hot lard, makes a delightful summer appetizer. If the blossoms come from unsprayed plants and are picked early in the morning, you should not have to wash them. The blossoms of other squash, pumpkin, and melon plants—as well as sliced vegetables and shrimp—can be used in this tempura batter.

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Ingredients

  • lard for frying
  • 2 dozen squash blossoms with 2-inch stems attached
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 cup unbleached (all-purpose) flour
  • salt to taste

Method

Heat 2 inches of lard in a Dutch oven or deep skillet to 365°. Preheat the oven to 200°. Check the blossoms for bugs and dirt. Wash and pat dry if necessary. In a wide bowl, mix the egg yolk well into the ice water, using a wooden spoon; then dump the flour into the liquid all at once, stirring quickly. The batter will be lumpy. Holding the blossoms by the stem, drag them through the batter and drop into the hot fat, frying each one for about 30 seconds on one side, then flipping it over and frying for about 10 to 20 seconds on the other side, until it has begun to brown. Remove each blossom as it is cooked to a wire rack placed on top of a sheet pan and keep in the warm oven until all the blossoms are fried. Salt lightly and serve immediately.

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