Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Zucchini Days by Barbara Quinn

I don’t plant much in my garden anymore. I have lots of herbs, and a few zucchini plants. And boy do those four zucchini plants take up room and produce like mad. I grow them mostly for the flowers. I can find good tomatoes and other veggies in my local farm market, but those zucchini flowers are elusive and very expensive if you do find them. Each morning I go out and harvest a bunch.

So what do I do with all those flowers? They are good to add to salads, and to zucchini bisque with fresh tarragon, and also to zucchini fritters which make a great accompaniment to grilled fish or meats. A major treat is fried or stuffed zucchini blossoms. Italians fry the blossoms in a simple thin water and flour batter called pastella which is similar to tempura batter. You sprinkle them with salt and enjoy. Tonight I’m going to stuff half the blossoms with mushroom, breadcrumb, pine nuts, and raisins. I’ll stuff the rest with leftover polenta mixed with a little parmesan. Then I’ll bake them in my toaster oven. What a terrific time of year.

Here’s a recipe for fried zucchini flowers:

2/3 Cup of water
1 Cup flour
Pan with one inch of Canola oil
A dozen or so zucchini blossoms.

Place water in a bowl. Sift the flour into the water and use a whisk to incorporate till mixture is a thin paste. You can experiment with consistency. Wash the blossoms and dry on paper towels. Cut open one side and remove the inside pistil. Leave them whole if possible. If too large cut into two pieces. Heat the oil on high heat. Dip the flowers into the batter and drain a bit, then put into the oil. Brown on one side, then flip to the other. Remove to paper towels and drain. Sprinkle with salt. Serve hot. If done right, they should be crunchy good!


Kathryn Magendie said...

I love zucchini but have never had the flowers! I saw on Iron Chef, which I do sometimes watch, just had a zucchini show and someone made "pasta" from it - MMMmMMM! I'd never seen yellow zuc before.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yum! Them "Eye-talians" know how to batter up and lightly fry up all sorts of delicious conconctions: zuccihini flowers, articokes, broccoli flowerettes, cauliflower...you name it. Wish we had the zucc. flowers here! Can't imagine why we don't.

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