Monday, August 1, 2016

Recipe: Fiori di Zucca (Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers)


     I stepped out onto my deck yesterday morning and was amazed at how well my container garden was doing this year.  While in Germany and Belgium, I was lucky enough to have a small plot of land and enjoyed my summer vegetable gardens.  In our current home, I do not have a yard large enough for a garden and even if I did, I am sure the deer would enjoy the fruits (veggies) of my labor more than we would.  So, I decided this year, that I would try growing vegetables in containers.  I have had some pretty good success and while it  isn't enough to feed the family, it is fun to tend.  I did go a bit crazy with zucchini plants. I have five pots with zucchini and they always seem to be blooming!

     I first had Fiori di Zucca on a visit to Rome.  We had rented an incredible first floor apartment that had its own garden overlooking Roman ruins.  In our neighborhood was a fantastic market called Volpetti and we must have visited each day we were there.  One evening, we were planning to have a light dinner outside and we found ourselves in Volpetti once more buying Prosciutto and cheeses.  We noticed these beautiful fried zucchini blossoms and added them to our dinner purchase.  We cannot remember what they were stuffed with but they were amazing.

    As I looked over my zucchini plants, I realized that I had a number of male blossoms, which had opened quite nicely.  Knowing that I had some goat cheese in the refrigerator, I quickly decided that we had to try to make Fiori di Zucca for our Sunday night appetizer.  I carefully snipped six open male flowers.  In the kitchen, I mixed together 1/2 cup of goat cheese, 1T whipped cream cheese, 1T heavy cream together in a bowl.  I added sliced scallions, chives, basil and salt and pepper.  Very carefully, I spooned a tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each flower and twisted the ends to close the flower.

     Later that evening, I mixed together one cup of flour, one cup of sparkling water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  I dipped each flower into the batter and let the excess drip off.  Then I fried each flower for two minutes or so until they were golden.  After draining briefly on a paper towel and drizzling a bit of salt over them, we had the perfect summer appetizer, which transported us back to Italy.

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