My parents vegetable garden is flourished with zucchini flowers. I popped in at the right time to be given these little beauties, freshly picked and ready to be filled, battered and shallow fried. I often resort to a more healthy choice of use by adding them to my oven baked mini frittate but this time I thought I would try a recipe that we grew up with.
My Nonna Carmela would make them this way, filled with fresh bread crumbs, lots of parsley, garlic, anchovies combined with olive oil. These were the basic ingredients readily available in the paese (town). The more modern take on this recipe would be a ricotta filling with other ingredients of choice.
Fiori di Zucchine Ripiene (Filled Zucchini Blossoms)
This recipe makes 10 filled flowers.
10 zucchini flowers
3 slices of fresh white bread (remove crust)
1 clove of garlic
bunch of parsley (quantity to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of plain flour
pinch of salt
water or beer for batter
vegetable oil for shallow frying
Holding a zucchini flower, use your fingers to gently make a split in the flower and snap off the yellow stamen in the centre. Repeat with remaining flowers.
In the food processor, add 3 slices of fresh sliced white bread without the crust, 6 anchovies, 1 clove of garlic, as much parsley to your liking, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process until fine and moist. Spoon a teaspoonful at a time in the centre of the flower until filled, then twist petal ends to enclose.
This is a very simple batter that my grandmother would use, which consists of just 1 cup of plain flour, a pinch of salt and adding water while whisking until smooth and not too thick in consistency. Nowadays you would use beer for a beer batter.
Line a tray with paper towels. Half fill a shallow fry pan with vegetable oil, then heat over a medium heat. Working in small batches, dip flowers in batter, allowing excess to drain off, then shallow fry for 2 minutes on either side or until lightly golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to tray. Repeat with remaining flowers and batter. They are lovely eaten warm as part of an antipasto.