Harvesting zucchini blossoms is a great way of controlling the amount of summer squash in the garden, and my local farm stands always have piles of them for sale. I usually pass them over, but then, in the same week, two friends of mine, Barbara Caccavella and Marguerite Scandiffio, separately rhapsodized about how their Italian-American families fried up piles of blossoms every summer. To avoid deep-frying indoors over a hot stove, fry them in batches in an electric skillet outdoors and serve them, hot and crisp, right out of the pan.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups club soda, as needed
- 16 zucchini blossoms
- ½ cup ricotta
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1. To make the batter, using a fork, stir the flour and salt in a bowl to combine. Gradually whisk in the club soda to make a batter–there should be a few lumps of flour. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
2. Using a small knife, cut a slit down the side of each zucchini blossom, and remove the pistil from inside each blossom. (If a blossom tears, don’t worry.) Mix the ricotta, basil, and garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a small spoon (a demitasse spoon works well), insert a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture inside each blossom through the slit. Be sure that the cheese filling is completely enclosed by the blossom. Transfer the blossoms to a platter.
3. Place a wire cake rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to come halfway up the sides. Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer. One at a time, holding the blossom by the stem, dip the blossom into the batter and remove, letting excess batter drip back into the bowl. There should be only a light coating of batter. Place in the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Fry the blossoms in batches to avoid crowding them in the skillet. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the blossoms to the cake rack to drain. Serve hot.
Nutritional information is based on 16 servings.
Nutritional information is based on 1/2 teaspoon added salt.