There is a saying in Italy that even an old leather sole from a shoe tastes good if it’s fried well! I have to agree with the Italians on this one, as there is nothing worse than eating something fried with a heavy, stodgy and soft batter. I actually tried two recipes for the batter, and although the first zucchini flowers looked beautiful and photographed well too, I was very disappointed with the ‘crunch factor’. So, back to an old faithful recipe and I wasn’t disappointed. Many Italians will make their tempura style batter with just icy cold fizzy mineral water and flour, which works beautifully but I was happy to stick with this recipe that I know…. And… I wasn’t disappointed.
Zucchini flowers are so beautiful when you see them at the market. Whether you want to eat them raw in a salad, or use them in a cooked recipe (they are beautiful in a zucchini risotto), you can’t go past how sensational they are eaten lightly fried as is, or stuffed first and then fried. Although you can find them stuffed with ricotta or goat’s cheese, here in Rome it is traditional to eat them fried, stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy. As I am ever keen to put down some Roman roots, who am I to go against tradition?
Stuffed & Fried Zucchini Flowers
- 10 -12 zucchini flowers
- 125g mozzarella
- fresh basil
- 100g flour
- 50g cornflour
- 25g baking powder
- 250ml iced mineral (fizzy) water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 lemons
- Carefully remove stamens from flowers trying not to tear petals.
- Cut mozzarella into 3cm long strips and cut anchovies into pieces the same length.
- Place one piece of mozzarella, one piece of anchovy, and a small basil leaf inside the flower cavity of each zucchini flower.
- Heat oil until hot (200°C). (Test just before frying by adding a drop of batter).
- Prepare the batter by placing flour, cornflour, baking powder, and iced water into a bowl and whisk together until there are no lumps.
- Dip the flowers into the batter, shake off the excess, twist petal ends and place one or two at a time into the hot oil. Cook until the flowers are golden and crunchy.
- Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel.
- To be served and eaten ASAP!