How about this plate full of yumminess??
These are stuffed zucchini flowers (and a another zucchini surprise at the end of the post!)…
Yes, you heard right…zucchini flowers stuffed with a lemon scented ricotta filling, battered and fried quickly.
Go now to your garden (or your local farmers market…they usually sell them too!). Pick some of these babies and make this recipe. You will absolutely fall in love!!
10 or so zucchini flowers (for information of how to pick, read this post!)
1 c fresh ricotta (the fresher the better!)
About 1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon (or less if you prefer a more subtle flavour)
A pinch of hot pepper flakes
About 4-6 large basil leaves, cut like this
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Generous pinch of salt
1 c white wine
3/4 c mineral water/club soda/beer
Vegetable oil for frying
**Inspired by Jamie Oliver…and my dad!
1. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, chopped basil, Parmesan, hot pepper flakes and salt/pepper (I added an egg to mine this time because I just picked up fresh eggs from the farm and couldn’t resist!); mix well and scoop into a Ziploc bag.
2. Get your flowers ready by prying open the petals (be really gentle) and check for dirt/insects.
3. Snip off the end of the plastic bag and push the end of the bag deep into the flower like this. Pipe the ricotta into the flower (push the bag and pull out as you fill the cavity).
4. Close the end by gently curling up the ends, enclosing the filling.
5. In another bowl ,combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the wine and mineral water and stir (it should look like thick pancake batter). Meanwhile, in a pot, place enough oil to come up 2 inches up the side of the pan; heat oil on medium until it gets hot enough.
6. I have cucumber plants growing next to the zucchini so I plucked a few flowers to try them out. They are beautiful but just too delicate…but they worked well, battered, as tester for the oil (to see if it’s hot enough, you can plop in a cube of potato or bread to see if it bubbles and floats to the top…then it’s ready – about 350 degrees on a thermometre if you have one)
…the oil was perfect…and the cucumber flowers were a nice treat!
6. Place the flowers in the batter and roll around – keeping the stem out of the batter if it is still intact.
7. Lift out gently and let the excess drip off the flower.
8. Gently place the flowers (I do 2 at the time) into the oil; flip it over when it is brown and brown the other side.
9. Place on paper towels to drain some of the oil away and sprinkle with sea salt.
Served with a side of lemon, they are spectacular!!
Now, you say you have left over batter? And leftover ricotta filling? And a zucchini you picked from the garden? Look at this…
1. Slice the zucchini into coins like above; place one on your cutting board, pipe a small bit of ricotta on top and top with another zucchini coin.
2. Poke it with a skewer and dip it into the batter; fry it up!
So now you know that you can eat flowers…and they can be yummy….and because you were a good person and you either picked them from your garden (therefore, getting loads of nutrients eating “straight from the vine” as they say!) or supported your local farmer, the calories you would get from frying completely disappear.
Isn’t it awesome being a good person??