I grew up in a predominantly Italian household where heritage and tradition were present in our daily lives and, even more so, on special occasions. These ideals have been instilled in me and I respect them and feel grateful that our kids (the next generation) will also know the importance of family history and tradition. When we get everyone in a room, which is hard these days, you better believe the table is full of the most delish Italian treats because, in my family, the food is the main event for important days. Its all about the moments. We are pretty good at building those moments around really good food.
It is our annual summer tradition to stuff and fry zucchini flowers. Better said, “Fiore Di zuccha tempura”. Stay with me now. Right around this time of year, plants and vegetables are thriving and zucchini flowers are in full bloom. In Italy, locals eat the bloom that proceeds the zucchini. The cooking process is labor-intensive, thus the reason the entire family gets involved, but the finished product is absolutely the most delicious gosh darn thing that you ever did taste.
This is one of The Knife’s favorite summer dishes and he is the driving force behind us getting in the kitchen and taking it down to the ground together. We had such a great time stuffing these bad boys and eating them, I wanted to share it with you.
The first part of the process was spearheaded by the MidSis.
Here she is plucking the stamen out and getting them ready to be stuffed.
Don’t they look so good you want to eat them?
The kids are getting big and got in on the action. Here is my niece Margot watching intently.
She and her cousin Mia helped with the stuffing. Their little hands and fingers were key! The blooms are delicate!
Mia was on cheese filling duty. We cut up fresh mozzarella and made a ricotta mixture.
Kitchen hack alert! We put the ricotta mixture into a baggie, snipped a small corner off the end and filled our flowers.
Once the flowers were all stuffed we started to prep for the frying process.
We filled a pan nearly halfway with canola oil and turned the heat on high. This was our test flower.
Here we have Neener Wiener (this is what the kids call her) frying up the zucchini flowers. The mess is worth the final product. Promise.
We lay them on a paper towel for a moment to let some of the grease drain. They are best served almost immediately. Just pop em in!
Are you hungry yet?
Isn’t that the most delightful thing you have ever seen? We think so!
Fried and Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
Zucchini Flowers- shop at your local farmers market
1.5 lbs fresh ricotta
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan
Fresh mozzarella – cut small
anchovies – cut small (a little goes a long way)
2 Tbsp. – fresh chopped parsley
5 eggs scrambled
Flour – enough to dredge the flowers
A lot of Canola oil for frying
To start, gently rinse the flowers with water and remove the insides. Prepare the ricotta stuffing by mixing together the ricotta, 3 eggs, grated parm (to taste) and salt and pepper and chopped parsley. In the meantime, place a piece of anchovy and fresh mozzarella in the flower. Then pipe a little ricotta filling into the flower.
Get your oil hot.
Scramble your eggs and add Pellegrino to them. You want the eggs to be on the watery side. It makes for a better, lighter, fried flower.
Dredge the stuffed flower in flour, gently tap off any excess and then dip in egg. You are ready to fry.
Place the stuffed flower in the oil. When it gets nice and golden flip and then repeat. They are in the oil for a minute at the most. Remove. Place on a paper towel and then serve.
We made variations of fried flowers. The kids aren’t into the stuffing so we kept them plain and battered only. Some flowers did not have anchovies but cheese only. Others had everything.
There was a surprise in every bite.