Classic Italian Summer healthy recipes dish, fried zucchini flowers appetizer recipes you simply must try if you have a zucchini patch or are lucky enough to find the beautiful bright yellow blossoms at the farmer’s market. Once you bite into the crunchy exterior, the warm cheesy filling oozes out and you taste the subtly sweet and delicate flavor of the flowers. Stuffed with cheese, zucchini veggies, and anchovies, this Italian appetizer is quite filling and not the healthiest choice for a starter but surely one of the most elegant and delicious. Paired with a Chianti wine from Italy, it is almost transcendent. Zucchini flowers also pairs well with Australian Shiraz for a lovely afternoon or American Cabernet Sauvignon for a dazzling evening.
The zucchini plant produces both female and male flowers. The female blossoms eventually grow into the vegetable while the male blossoms die off. As much as possible, when making fried zucchini flowers choose the male blossoms. They exist to pollinate the females and are meant to be made into a delectable fried appetizer. You can tell whether the flower is male from its long, straight stems and the stamen in the center of the blossom. Pick fresh firm flowers that should be just slightly open, making them easier to stuff.
Ingredients: 18 large zucchini blossoms (stems removed, brushed clean but not washed), ¼ cup + 4 cups olive oil, 1 onion (minced), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme), 6 oz. zucchini (diced into ¼ in. pieces), 1 tablespoon + 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 4 anchovy fillets (soaking in cold water for 5 minutes, drained on towels, and minced), ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, sea salt, pepper (freshly ground), 1 cup water
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the thyme and zucchini. Increase the heat to high. Cook for about 10 minutes more, or until the pan is dry. Add one tablespoon of flour in the pan and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour the contents of the skillet into a mixing bowl and allow it to cool slightly. Add the egg, anchovies, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fill each zucchini flower ¾ full with this mixture. Twist the ends of each flower to seal it. Pour 1/2 cup of flour in another mixing bowl and add enough water to make the flour pasty and smooth. Gently whisk in the remaining water. In a frying pot, heat 4 cups oil to 350 degrees F. Dip 3 flowers in the flour batter and lower them into the hot oil using a spatula. Fry until the batter is golden, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.
The flowers of zucchini are quite perishable and should be prepared and cooked the day they are bought or the day after, at the most. Put the flowers in the crisper section of your refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Gently wash the flowers, pat dry, and remove the stamen or pistil. Also called “fritelle” or “friori fritti,” fried zucchini flowers bring out the taste of summer and are a family favorite in Italy during the hot season. Known as “kolokythaoanthoi” in Greek, they were also a popular dish in the Ottoman Empire, or what is now known as Turkey.