Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stuffed and Fried Zucchini Blossoms

I could not make up my mind. I was so thrilled to wake up to zucchini blossoms ready for picking - I wanted to do everything you said. Ciao Chow Linda stuffs them with mozzarella and a little anchovy (creamy-salty - I'm hooked). Barbara from Dish 'n That said gorgonzola (pungent rich, earthy cheese paired with a blossom - yes, I'll have a few of those). Pat from Mille Fiori Favoriti sent me to Marcella Hazan who simply fried them - and I am a sucker for simplicity where the ingredient shines.

In the end, I took everyone's advice but substituted the cheeses I had at hand. I stuffed them with ricotta and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a few turns in the grater for the mixture and a little chunk just for me). And you all advised fried. And fried it was.

I left the blossoms out for the afternoon (hoping most critters would make their exit). You can soak them in cold water in the sink. The zucchini blossoms are stronger than you think although you don't want to roughhouse with them too much. I did tear one (but stuffed and ate it anyway). I opened up the zucchini blossoms and with small scissors I cut away the piston. After doing that, I wiped them clean with a damp paper towel.
Stuffing Mixture - for 8 small-medium zucchini blossoms
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup freshy grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 egg
Pinch of salt (I used a preserved lemon salt because I could) - sea salt, or Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
1 baby zucchini minced
1 garlic clove minced
1/3 cup seltzer water or club soda
1/4 cup flour (I used the "00" flour given graciously to me from The Sausage Debauchery. I wanted to keep the coating light and it was.
A pinch of salt if using seltzer
Canola and olive oil for frying

Mix the club soda and flour and watch it foam. The club soda (or seltzer) also helps to keep the coating light..
Whip ricotta, egg, Parmigiano and salt till creamy. In a small skillet melt your butter. Lightly saute your baby zucchini and garlic. 30-45 seconds is all you need. Fold it into the ricotta mixture. Allow some of the butter to drip into the batter!

Many sites advise using a pastry bag and piping the mixture into the blossom. I used a very small spoon. Really small. Tiny. In fact, I have no idea as to how that tiny spoon made its way into my kitchen. Use a small meauring spoon.
In a small-medium skillet, add a combination of canola oil and olive until it is about 1-1/2 inches deep. The canola oil keeps it just a wee bit lighter and lowers the flash point. Heat the oil on medium high. It is ready when you put a drop of the flour-club soda mixture in and it instantly sizzles.

Dip your stuffed zucchini into the flour/club soda mixture and let all excess drip back into the bowl. Fry your stuffed zucchini 45 seconds to one minute per side. My daughter likes them crisp and browned all over. I like just the tips browned to a crisp. Next time I make these I will need to ask who likes their blossoms rare, medium rare or well-done! Drain on paper towels.

The fried blossom was mellow and sweet. The creamy filling was just a wee bit pungent. A delicate contrast. We lapped them up like candy. All asked for more. My family is ready to plant a zucchini field just for more blossoms.
The only problem was ....
I had mixture leftover. Which I could have saved for some more blossoms (but you know I need to try the mozzarella/anchovy mixture and the gorgonzola ones and just fry some plain). And am thinking burrata would be an indulgent stuffing. So what to do with the ricotta mixture?

I took out my puff pastry shells that have been in the freezer for a while. Baked them. Sauteed a few minced portabella mushrooms. Added the leftover ricotta mixture and lightly cooked it to cook the egg. When the puff pastry was ready, I stuffed the warm puff pastry with the now "ricotta-mushroom" mixture and that was our second appetizer.
The only problem was....
I had used up the mixture but now had some extra puff pastry shells. So, I went back to the fridge where I had 8 ounces of ricotta cheese left. I added 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to make a cannoli mixture. I sliced the puff pastry in half and added the cannoli mixture in the middle and on top. I added berries everywhere until they fell on to the plate. I dusted with way too much confectioners sugar. And ...
... had nothing leftover.
My blog is a journey with food as a catalyst. Food sustains life. It fuels relationships. It is healing, reaching for the stars, celebratory and present at all milestones - the supremely happy ones and the challenging ones.
Food ties me to my heritage, to those who've left the world and is a way of reaching to those who will come in the future - even when I am gone. What Grandma gave me has been given to my children. It is a way of introducing them to each other. When we as strangers share with each other, we offer something of ourselves. And in the process, we are not strangers anymore.



chow and chatter said...

looks yummy as ever you could so make awesome Thai food your a talented cook

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

All of this looks heavenly!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You have me yearning to make fried zucchini blossoms. I love how your little leftover filling morphed into a couple of other treats. I am also glad you have an outlet for your "musings" but you may want to rethink leaving it up. Sometimes these things come back to haunt you. And thanks for the shout-out.

Monet said...

What a great post...it was like following you through a magical forest, where one treasure led you to another. And I appreciated how you concluded your post. Food does tie us to our families and our heritage. Thank you for sharing!

Mister Meatball said...

Yup, it's summer alright!!!

Very nice indeed.

Last year I made a simple risotto (butter, cheese, y'know) and tossed in a few blossoms. I'd do it again.

janet said...

As always, your food looks amazing. I love how one dish led to another, and in the end you used everything up:)
I would leave your musings up. Your words really touch people Claudia, and your last two lines today really speak to the heart of it.

Frank said...

How I love fried zucchini blossoms. Used to make them all the time when I lived in Rome (stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies) But they're hard to find where I live now.... :((

3 hungry tummies said...

They must taste so good! Love how you used up the leftovers too, brilliant!

Barbara GF said...

I just picked a handful of baby courgettes with flowers attached this morning, Claudia, and I am on the path to stuffing and frying them (but not before I admire them and relish the moment). You are such a resourceful cook; I love how you stretched that ricotta filling from savory to sweet. And thank goodness for frozen puff pastry! I believe, too, how food and sharing with strangers connects us all. Lovely, inspiring post. And thanks for the mention!

sweetlife said...

love love fried zuchinni blossoms, great use of the leftover filling..


Reeni said...

It's been too long since I had a squash blossom! These look excellent Claudia. And I love what you did with the leftovers. The cannoli - my mouth is watering like crazy - what I wouldn't do for one right now.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Claudia, I love your philosophy on cooking and life! You're an eternal optimist! I have a weakness for fried squash blossoms, and in fact started several zucchini plants just to collect the blossoms, which was fantastic because the more you clip off the blossoms, the faster they come back!

theUngourmet said...

I can't believe I've been eying blossom recipes since last summer and I still have tried making them. Your recipe looks delicious and I love what you did with the left over filling. :)

fromBAtoParis said...

Why is it we can't get zucchini flowers here in Paris? I can't grow that in my balcony...
What a pity !!! Looks great!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I have never made these. For whatever reason the blossoms are not available in my area and I don't grow zucchini. You've made me feel deprived :-). Yours look delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Heather S-G said...

Oh! I've been wanting to stuff some zucchini blossoms...your sound soooooo delicious!

Anonymous said...

My husband absolutely loves those - I should make them now that we have a deep fryer!

Love the way one meal melded into the next!

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Again, you've wonderful gifts to cook!! Love the fried zucchini blossoms - absolutely yummy :)



Eleonora Baldwin said...

I stuff my fiori with mozzarella (not bufala, too watery) or cow's milk ricotta + a small anchovy, but then I dip them in chilled batter before frying, it makes then übercrunchy and delish.

Lovely ode to the blossom, Caudia, well done!

Jen_from_NJ said...

The cheese filling looks so creamy and delicious! I need to hunt down some zucchin blossoms to stuff!

Katherine said...

An old Italian family I used to live with made fried zucchini flowers these in the summer months, they were so light and delicious.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My mother-in-law would make a batter, let it sit awhile, then dip in the clean and dry zucchini blossoms and quickly fry them. Then she would drain them on papers towels, sprinkle over soem parmesan cheese and we'd eat them like candy! It was such a fleeting taste of summer at its best.
You captured the magic perfectly with your blossom creations, Claudia. I love how you were able to extend the filling into a second appetizer and dessert! Brava!

Happy 4th of July!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I can't wait til my blossoms appear, you've inspired me Claudia. You're so resourceful, right down to the cannoli filling! Hope you're feeling better friend.

Magic of Spice said...

What a wonderful idea for zucchini blossoms...Love it!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I just jumping back in to wish you a happy holiday. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

OysterCulture said...

I love stuffed zucchini blossoms, and could eat them all the time.

Your recipe sounds just amazing, I've used feta in mine and your's just sounds amazing.

Christo Gonzales said...

I just made some stuffed blossoms and now I want to make them again - yours are beautiful!

FOODESSA said...

Claudia...I love the way you spread the joys of having Ricotta throughout your preparations. Believe it or not I've enjoyed these zucchini blossoms stuffed with havarti and a touch of maple syrup! I know...it must sound terribly glutton of me LOL. Now, my challenge would be to get these things baked!

Your optimism gives much hope to others who may not have your strengths...therefore, you are a much appreciated person;o)

Happy celebratory day and flavourful wishes, Claudia

Bren said...

My goodness my mother would swoon over these stuffed zucchini! Nice looking work!

Claudia said...

Thanks all - I will be giving it a spin with mozzarella and anchovy as Ciao Chow Linda and Eleanora advised. And thanks Christine for the heads up - I did put the Doodista zucchini widget on that post. How fun.

Alison Zulyniak said...

I've only ever had stuffed fried zucchini blossoms in restaurants. I'll have to try your recipe! Looks great!

~Prairie Story ...care of Alison Zulyniak

tasteofbeirut said...

thanks for all this info Claudia as I am planning this year not to allow anyone to dump the hundreds of flowers we get from our garden here. Never made them before and your post is invaluable.

test it comm said...

I really like the sound of these! I am going to have to redouble my search for the zucchini blossoms!