Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zucchini Blossom Fritters


I've been eating zucchini flowers my entire life. Every summer my grandmother would harvest the blossoms from her zucchini plants and use them to make a frittata. We ate many, many frittatas each season and I loved every one of them.
Nowadays, squash blossoms are a popular ingredient. But, when I was growing up, it seemed that unless you were Italian, you probably had never heard of eating them. So, it didn't surprise me one bit when shortly after meeting my Italian husband, his mother served me Zucchini Blossom Fritters...and it was love at first taste.
Since then, my whole family enjoys these delicious treats every year. My boys love when their grandmother makes them a batch....and, it brings me back to my childhood summers.
It's very common to find zucchini blossom recipes that involve stuffing the flowers with a ricotta cheese mixture, then pan-frying them in a tempura like batter. Those are fantastic too! But, these are different. The blossoms are sauteed in olive oil to soften them a bit, then chopped, and added to a fritter batter flavored with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. I was so happy when my mother-in-law shared the recipe with me. But, I have to say that unless she is the one making them, they are never exactly the same. Doesn't that seem to be the case with all passed down recipes?
For those not familiar with squash flowers...
The best way to get your hands on some is to grow your own zucchinis. But, if that's not possible, check your local farmer's market for some. If they don't have any when you go, just ask! Most times, if they can bring you some the following week, they will. I've also seen them at specialty markets,...or if you live in the Northeast, the company Satur Farms packages them this time of year.

Begin by preparing your squash blossoms. You'll need about 7-8 flowers, but it's not necessary to have the exact amount. A few more, or less will do just fine. Gently open the petals on each flower and inspect the inside for any dirt, or insects that may have crawled inside. Rinse them with water, and pat dry with paper towels.

I like to remove the little green spikes from around the stems, and I also remove the pistil from the center of each flower. Since these won't be getting stuffed, it's easiest to cut a slit alongside the length of each flower...which makes removing the pistil easier. Otherwise, just reach in to take it out.

Next, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add in a clove of sliced garlic, along with the squash blossoms. Saute until the flowers are softened, and beginning to brown. Remove them from the pan, and coarsely chop. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Add the chopped squash flowers to a separate bowl. To them, add a tablespoon of chopped fresh basil leaves,

1 egg, a 1/2 cup milk, and 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Use a fork to gently beat together. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture, and stir to combine. The mixture should be slightly thicker than a pancake batter. If needed, add in a bit more milk.
Pour enough vegetable oil into a skillet to coat the bottom by about a 1/4", then heat over medium high heat. Scoop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful, and drop into the hot oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten each fritter slightly.


Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the fritter over, and brown the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. If desired, sprinkle lightly with some coarse salt, and chopped fresh basil. Serve while hot.

Zucchini Blossom Fritters

Adapted from a recipe by Marie Vitucci {a.k.a. my mother-in-law}
Serves 4

7-8 squash blossoms
1 clove garlic {peeled + sliced}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves {plus more for garnish}
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
vegetable oil for frying

Prepare the squash blossoms by inspecting each flower for dirt, or bugs {little critters do like to hide inside them}. Give them a gentle rinse with water, and dry with paper towels. Remove the pistil from inside each flower. Note: For this application, it's fine to cut a slit alongside the length of each flower, to make removal easier. You wouldn't want to do this if you were stuffing the blossoms. I also like to remove the little green spikes from around the stem of the flowers.
Saute the blossoms with the garlic, and olive oil, in a skillet over medium high heat until softened, and lightly browned. Remove from the skillet and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl, and add in the chopped basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, egg, and milk. Use a fork to gently beat the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl, and stir to combine. The mixture should be slightly thicker than a pancake batter. If needed, add in a bit more milk.
Pour enough vegetable oil into a skillet to coat the bottom by about a 1/4"; heat over medium high heat. Scoop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful, and drop into the hot oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten each fritter slightly. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the fritter over, and brown the other side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with some coarse salt, and chopped fresh basil. Serve while hot.
Click here for the printable recipe.

17 comments:

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Oh gosh! I could eat the whole batch and not think twice! I need to get a hold of some squash blossoms and fast! Thanks for sharing :)

kate said...

Lol Laurie :) I've been known on more than one occasion to do just that!

Joanne said...

My father is OBSESSED with zucchini blossoms! (And seeing as how we're 100% Italian, you understand why.) And it's definitely because of fritters like these! Great stuff.

Velvet said...

I definitely have to take home some of the zuchinni blossoms from our vegetable garden!

Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

The apple of my eye.

josie said...

ooohh, these look great! i will try to find zucchini blossoms to try out this recipe.

i found your blog via stumbleupon, will keep coming back.

have a great day!

josie

Anonymous said...

I grew up with them in Mexico too! My favorite is a cream of zucchini blossoms -you should give this a try! We would also stir fry them with some onions, tomatoes and seasonings for yummy soft taco filling.

Elizabeth said...

These look sublime--so light and delicate. What a great take on fritters.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! You've just brought back a wonderful memory from my childhood, when my mother used to make these every summer (yep, we're italian). I haven't had them since and miss these so much!
My mother's since sadly passed on and so is her recipe. Sure, yours look a little different from the way I remember, but I bet they're every bit as delicious.
Again, thank you for a wonderful post!

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Maria said...

Hi there! We have the same recipe in Greece as well; neighbouring countries! The usual and easy partner-in-crime for fried zucchini flowers is tzatziki. Don't hesitate to try them together! It's delicious!

Vasili said...

These are incredibly good! Thanks for the post. I used dried basil and cheddar cheese and they were still delicious.

Poosie said...

I honestly planted a zucchini plant for the sole purpose of making these!! Thanks for the recipe!

Xza said...

I'm really looking forward to trying these tonight! I forgot riccota cheese at the store and don't want to drive the 20 miles back into town, but this is the perfect recipe for all these squash blossoms I picked up at our farmers market. Thanks!

CrazyHorse69 said...

They are delicious! Made them twice this week--turned out more like buscuits, but that's a good thing :)

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Reel Flavor said...

Hi there! I just stumbled across your blog - love the name btw :). You know a recipe is great when it gets your mind turning about not only how much you want to eat it, but also what other kinds of fritters I you could potentially make. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to browsing around a bit more on here!

-Sylvia @ reelflavor.com

Tracy in StillH2O said...

So glad to find this! The lovely Italian grandmother of one of my best friends growing up used to make these and I have been searching for a recipe for ages and never found one with chopped blossoms in a fritter. Thank you for sharing!

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