Cross this one off the bucket list. Frying up some zucchini blossoms has always been something that I have wanted to do. And I will be doing it again.
Found usually only in CSA’s, farmers’ markets, or your own backyard garden, zucchini blossoms appear for just a short time each year. I’ve always seen recipes with them, some simply beer-battered and fried, and some, like these, filled and twisted up with a mellow cheese mixture….then fried. No, it’s not the healthiest snack in the world. But, man, for just a short window each late summer, they are worth the dietary splurge.
Avoiding a trip to Whole Foods, I decided to head up to the Milwaukee Public Market yesterday. Amazingly, I happened to have cash on me, and the outdoor market was packed. The fresh produce stand was on my list of booths to hit, and then I realized that they happened to have large bags of these particular blossoms…for $2. Ummm, yes, please. Excitedly, I headed home, also realizing that I had a brick of cream cheese in the fridge and a bottle of vegetable oil in the pantry that I had never used. Boom.
After separating out the blossoms (and finding some friendly garden bugs which I let loose off my balcony), I quickly rinsed the blossoms and got rid of any that looked shriveled or wimpy. These were fresh, and, in order to make the most of these guys, yours will need to be, too. I ended up with about 24 good blossoms, ready to fill and get fried. The petals can be ultra delicate, so be extremely careful in your handling of them. I definitely lost a few.
Served warm with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, these were a moment of pure late summer bliss. Now, hurry and go get yours before they are gone.
Servings: enough for 2-3 people
Fresh zucchini blossoms, about 24, pistils removed and cleaned gently
For the batter:
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup water
For the filling:
One 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Vegetable oil, for frying (I used an entire 1.5 quart container)
Special equipment: a deep-frying thermometer, a piping bag/pastry tip to pipe the cheese in the blossoms (or use a plastic baggie with a corner cut off)
1. For the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, baking powder, pepper, flour, and salt, mixing well.
2. Gently whisk in the beaten egg and the water, mixing until smooth. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
3. For the filling: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), combine the cream cheese and ricotta and mix at medium speed until smooth.
4. Add the salt and pepper and chives, mixing well.
5. To assemble: Place the cheese filling into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and gently pipe about one teaspoon of the cheese filling into each blossom, carefully twisting the blossoms around the cheese to prevent it from leaking out (Just try your best. I found it to be a little difficult because my blossoms were so delicate, but just do the best you can.)
6. Meanwhile, pour about 1 inch or so of vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Attach your thermometer and heat the oil until it reaches about 350 degrees.
7. Once the oil is heated, carefully dip each blossom into the batter, coating each one completely.
8. Fry the blossoms in batches, frying for about 2 minutes or so on each side, using tongs to carefully flip the blossoms. Transfer the fried blossoms to a serving plate and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from the Kitchn.