Deep-fried zucchini flowers are Italian speciality and it becoming recently much wider popular. The flowers have a subtle flavour, reminiscent of young zucchinis, and can be eaten even raw. The flowers can be battered and fried or they are also frequently stuffed (very often with soft cheeses such as ricotta) and cooked. Everyone who grow zuccini (courgettes) at home can make use of the yellow flowers that appear in steady supply throughout the summer. If flowers aren’t available, you can use the same batter and method to deep-fry slices of zucchini and aubergine. These days you can find zuccini flowers at farmers’ markets, though they are not nearly as prevalent as the taut green and yellow fruit. If you see them next time you are buying the vegetables, don’t miss the chance to try this recipe.
50 g plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
3 egg whites
8 – 12 zucchini flowers
oil for deep-frying
lemon wedges, to serve
To make the batter, sift the flour into a bowl and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix in the oil with a wooden spoon. Slowely add 80 – 125 ml warm water, changing to a whisk when the mixture becomes liquid. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth and thick. Whisk the egg whites until the stiff peacks form, then fold into the batter.
Check the zucchini flowers are clean and aren’t hiding any stray insects. Trim the stem of each flower to 2 cm, to give you something to hold on to when dipping.
heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep frying pan to about 180°C, or until a pieceof bread fries golden brown in 15 seconds when dropped in the oil. If the oil starts to smoke, it is too hot.
Dip the zucchini flowers into the batter, coating both sides. Fry the flowers in batches until golden brown, turning once to cook on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve with the sprinkling of salt and a lemon wedge. Don’t let them sit around – serve and eat immediately, preferably with the glass of chilled white wine.