- Food and Cooking
Zucchini Flower Fritters
My mother is originally from Calabria in Southern Italy and we grew up eating traditional foods from her small village. One of the foods she made when zucchini were in season were zucchini flower fritters. As we had a vegetable garden in which my mother grew zucchini, we were lucky enough to have zucchini flowers (and zucchini) close at hand when in season.
I thought it was time to share this simple and yet tasty dish with others.
Some information about zucchini flowers
Zucchini flowers come in both male and female varieties and both are edible. The male variety grows on a stem attached to the plant. The female variety grows at the end of the zucchini as it grows. The male variety is smaller than the female variety. Zucchini flowers are short lived and start to wither quickly both on the plant and once picked so there is a very short time span for using Zucchini flowers.
The zucchini flowers in the accompanying photo are female zucchini flowers.
What is different about this zucchini flower recipe?
Most zucchini flower recipes (including one of my mother's alternatives) involve stuffing the flower (either attached to a stalk or tiny zucchini) with a filling (often a cheese) and then steaming or frying the stuffed flower (often dipping the stuffed flower in a batter before and frying it). In my experience, this is the more common method of cooking zucchini flowers, especially in restaurants.
This recipe doesn't involve filling the flower at all but does involve batter.
Here is what you will need to make zucchini flower fritters:
* Zucchini flowers (male or female or a combination);
* all purpose/plain flour - the quantity will vary depending on the dryness of the potatoes;
* eggs - one or two depending on size and the dryness of the once mixture;
* melted butter or olive oil to include in the batter;
* Parmesan cheese (or other strong tasting cheese); and
* oil - as required for frying.
The method - preparing the zucchini flowers
If you are lucky enough to be growing your own zucchini, the first thing you have to do is keep a close watch on your plants to see when they are flowering. For this recipe, you can use the flowers alone or the flowers and the small zucchini attached to the female flowers. If you want to use the flowers alone, then you can use the flowers almost as soon as they appear but if you would like to include some zucchini then I suggest waiting until the zucchini is between 5 cm (2 inches) and 10 cm long (4 inches) as the zucchinis should be very tender and cook as quickly as the flowers. Please note that you do not have to include any zucchini at all but I like to include as it adds texture and taste to the fritters.
Once you have collected or bought the zucchini flowers, remove the pistils from the female flowers and the stamens from the male flowers. If using male flowers, also discard the stalks. Then wash the flowers making sure that all of the pistils and stamens have been removed. As the flowers are very delicate, be gentle when washing them. Let the flowers drain for a little while in a colander or pat them dry with a paper towel. Once almost dry, cut the flowers into fine strips and, if using female flowers and the small zucchini, cut the zucchini into small cubes. Once the zucchini flowers and zucchini (if using them) are cut, put them into a colander to drain while you are making the batter
Here are the cut zucchini flowers and zucchini draining in a colander
The method - preparing the batter
Like all of my mother's recipes, the quantities for the batter recipe are not exact - it is all about making the batter as thick or as thin as you want it. In this case, as the zucchini flowers are delicate, I have always made a runny batter so that it is easy to combine the zucchini flowers in the batter and so that the fritters are flat. The shape of the fritters is to do with following tradition - that is to say, my mother has always made the fritters flat because her mother did. If you do try this recipe, just make the batter as thin or as thick as you want - the main thing is to make sure that the zucchini flowers and zucchini pieces are well combined with the batter.
To make the batter, combine the flour, one egg, water, melted butter (or, if you prefer olive oil or other oil), salt and pepper and mix until the consistency of the batter is smooth. Then add Parmesan cheese to your liking and mix again to ensure the cheese is well comined. Once the batter is smooth after combining the Parmesan cheese, add the zucchini flowers and zucchini pieces and combine well. At this point, you should consider whether your batter is too thick or too thin. If too thin, then add some extra flour. If too thick, add an extra egg or some water.
This is what the batter and zucchini flower mixture looks like to produce thin fritters
The method - frying the fritters
To fry the fritters, place a heavy based frying pan with oil over a high heat and heat until the oil is sizzling. I shallow fry the fritters but you should just use as much oil as you normally do when you fry items like this.
I use a wide frying pan so that I can cook a lot of fritters at one time. When the oil is sizzling, drop a spoonful of mixture into the pan and flatten the mixture until it is no more than 1 cm thick. Repeat until the pan is full. By the time you have filled the pan (if you are using a large frying pan, the first fritter should be ready to flip. Once you have flipped the fritters, cook until they are golden on each side. You might need to flip the fitter again to reach the right colour.
Remove the cooked fritters from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
I like to eat these when they are still piping hot but be careful not to burn your tongue.
Here are some finished fritters
Here are some alternatives:
* Serve the fritters with a yogurt and lemon dip or a ricotta and paprika dip.
* Instead of using a large frying pan to fry the fritters, use the same sized frying pan you would use to fry pancakes or omelettes and cook the same way you would make a pancake or omelette. Once cooked, you can smear ricotta or cream cheese on the pancake and roll or fold.
* Make a stack of pancake sized fritters lining each layer with ricotta or cream cheese and cut into wedges (like cutting a cake) and serve with wedges of lemon.
* Add baking powder to the mixture and make a dense batter rather than a thin batter and then drop a spoonful of batter into the frying pan without flattening it. The fritter should puff up.
You may be interested in these other zucchini flower recipes
- Taste.com.au - Link 1
Stuffed zucchini flowers
- Lifestyle Food link 1
Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Salmon Mousse, Chestnut Mushrooms
- Lifestyle Food - link 2
Courgette Flowers stuffed with Crab
- Lifestyle Food - link 3
Simple Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Deep-fried Zucchini Flowers
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
- Masterchef Australia
Zucchini Flowers filled with Minted Ricotta, with Almond Gazpacho
- Why Go Italy
Fried Zucchini Flowers Recipe
- Recipes for 2
Deep Fried Zucchini Flowers with Goat's Curd
- Taste.com.au - Link 2
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Tomato Salsa
Will you try this recipe?
Do you think you will try this recipe or is it too strange?
Do you think you will try this recipe or is it too strange?