Friday, July 25, 2008
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
When we lived in Brooklyn, Nanny had a beautiful vegetable garden. She grew tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, string beans, figs, rasperries, grapes and of course, zucchini. Zucchini plants grow beautiful vibrant orange flowers that are edible. I've seen them on menus in restaurants and I've watched Chefs like Mario Batali make them, however, I've only seen them stuffed which was not the way Nanny made them. She mixed them in a batter, fried them and topped them with sugar. Strange you make think but I assure you, they are very delicious. If you just give them a chance maybe they will become part of your summer food memories as they are an important part of mine.
My mom has taken over making the fried zucchini flowers (as she called them) since Nanny has passed and I have to say, I'm impressed. She figured out on her own how to make them and they taste just like I remember. This past weekend I visited my parents in Staten Island. My mother had a big bag of blossoms in the fridge that she picked off the zucchini that she and my father grew this year. She kept her promise to teach me how to make these treats and on Sunday we made them together. Here's what we did.
Nanny always said to pick the flowers in the morning while the blossoms are open. I don't know why this matters since they close once they are picked but that's what she said so that's what we do. So first you pull off the bottom piece that holds the flower together. Then you gently tear open the delicate flower and pull out the bud. You then wash off all the pollen and any insects that may be inside. Let them dry in a colander and then drain excess water on a paper towel. (I had pictures of all of these steps but they were taken with my mother's camera which didn't come out very well. The pictures that we did get were taken with my brother's new high tech camera. Thanks Gennaro!)
Make batter by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, 2 eggs, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of baking powder.
Add blossoms and gently mix them until coated with batter. Some pieces may break off but that's okay.
Heat a pan with vegetable oil. When oil is hot drop a large spoonful of batter into the pan. Try to get one blossom per spoonful if possible. When browned turn and fry the second side.
When they are done let them drain on a paper towel and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Eat them while they are warm. I couldn't get a great picture because everyone was eating them before I could get a nice pile on the plate! I think this made at least 20 and they were devoured within minutes.
So next time you consider throwing out those zucchini flowers think of me and my Nanny and give this recipe a shot. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Thanks Mom for figuring out this recipe. If you didn't it would be lost!