Time to Fry the Blooms

THE BLOOMS

I truly love zucchini blooms, though there are many ways to consume them, my all time favorite is fried. They can be found and harvested in the spring / summer period, although greenhouse production makes them available every season of the year.

The zucchini flower are male and female, easily distinguishable from each other. The male, in fact, has the stem while the female is attached directly to the courgette or zucchini.

HOW TO COOK THE BLOOMS

Almost all Italian regional cuisines, including Ligurian and Romagna, love and take advantage of this ingredient for the preparation of vegetable-based first courses, with Pasta, in Frittata, Flans, and even in Pizza!

A typical recipe of Lazio, but now common throughout Italy, concerns the zucchini flowers fried in batter, a delicacy used both for a fanciful appetizer and as a main course.

HOW TO CLEAN THE BLOOMS

Before cooking, you need to remove the stem and open the flower, being careful not to break it; It is very important not to forget to remove the inner pistil;

While cleaning, to avoid the risk of wetting it too much and causing it to lose its consistency, it is best to use a small brush soaked in water, then dabbing very gently using kitchen paper.

TO FRY THE BLOOMS

The Traditional Batter

To prepare the batter, there are several procedures. The traditional one requires only one egg, one liter of water and 100 grams of flour.

Sift the latter into a bowl, add the beaten egg and pour in some milk. Stir constantly until the flour is completely diluted. When the batter for flowers will be smooth, soft and without lumps, it can be used with the desired recipe. Dip the flowers in the batter, and fry them in a pan with abundant oil, taking care to turn them often. When they are well browned, drain them and place them on kitchen paper to let the oil drip before serving.

This has been my favorite method for years, however, I lately tried the batter with beer.

Batter and beer

Another way to prepare the batter for the flowers includes the beer variant: in this way you get a slightly more swollen mixture. Always serve 100 grams of flour and 200 ml of fresh lager. We need to sift the flour and add all the other ingredients, mixing well to obtain a smooth mixture. Resting for about half an hour is essential, before using it for frying.

I found this method yields a more delicate flavored blooms, crunchy, and light. (The ones pictured are made with the beer batter!)

Japanese Tempura

Finally, an alternative is the Japanese batter, better known as tempura. It is excellent for fried fish, but it is also very good for zucchini flowers. 1 cup all-purpose flour (sifted), 1 large egg, 1 cup water (ice cold), Ice cubes (for chilling the water). In a small bowl, sift the flower once or twice to remove any clumps and to make it light and soft. In a separate medium bowl, gently beat 1 egg until the yolk and egg whites are just barely incorporated. Prepare ice cold water by combining water and ice cubes in a cup. Using a strainer, measure 1 cup of ice cold water and add it to the bowl with the beaten egg. Make sure you do not actually add ice cubes to the tempura batter mixture. Add the sifted flour into the bowl with the egg and water mixture and lightly combine the flour.

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