Zucchini flowers are one of summer’s really
special treats. In fact, I just picked some from my garden this afternoon, and I must
say, my plants have been very prolific this year. When you look at the zucchini flower,
when you see a long straight stem like this, it’s a sign that this is a male flower. Female
flowers have little baby zucchini attached to them. Now, these flowers, in the morning
they are wide open, ready for pollination, but by the afternoon they close up and curl
up like this. If you leave them on the plant, by the next day they’ll fall off and die.
So the trick is — pick them and eat them! Now, I love to serve them stuffed with ricotta
and fresh herbs and then pan-fry them, and there is a recipe for this on the website.
But if you’re in a hurry, you can also dip them in this light beer batter and pan-fry
them and serve them with a curried tomato coulis. They are unbelievably scrumptious,
and to me, so special. To make the batter, place the flour in a large bowl, and it’s
very important that you measure the flour accurately. Otherwise, the batter will end
up too heavy. Add the salt and the pepper, stir that until well blended, add the beer.
Make sure to use a light beer, because if it has too much flavor, it will overpower
the delicate zucchini blossoms. This beer is going to make our batter so light — almost
like air. Now let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg and whisk again until well incorporated.
Before we cook the flowers, we need to remove the stamen, so make a small tear — and here
it is, you see — and just pinch it off. We want to remove it because it’s a little bit
bitter. You can do this with all the flowers. We’re ready to pan-fry our flowers! So heat
a large skillet over high heat. Pour enough oil in it to come about 1/8 of an inch up
the sides. Put a couple of drops of the batter in the pan, and when these start to sizzle,
I know that my oil is hot and then we’ll be ready to add the flowers. Okay, we have a
nice sizzle going on, so now dip the flowers in the batter and place them in the pan. You
want to very lightly dip them, so make sure you drip the batter before you add them to
the pan. We’re going to pan-fry these for about 2 to 3 minutes until they’re a deep
golden color. I think we’re ready to turn them — yes, look how beautiful they are.
Now, I’m warning you — when you turn them over, there might be a little bit of splatter,
because if there is a little bit of moisture in the flowers, it will be released at this
time. So be careful! Now we’re going to pan-fry them on this side again for about 1 to 2 minutes,
until again a deep golden color. They always cook a little faster on the second side. They’re
done, so now just put them on paper towels. At this time I’m going to reduce the heat
a little bit, because the pan is really hot, before I add the second batch. Now, the second
batch will also cook a little faster than the first one, just because by that time your
pan is extremely hot. Sprinkle the fritters with salt. I like to serve these with a curried
tomato coulis, which I place in a little bowl, and then lay the fritters on the tray next
to it. Make sure you serve these as soon as you have plated them. I must say, I plant
zucchini more for the flowers than for the zucchinis themselves — although, of course,
I love those too. Bon apetit!