You can buy fresh zucchini blossoms in season but they are very expensive and that takes the fun and satisfaction out of this recipe honestly. So start early and plant a garden. This recipe is the sole reason I even plant zucchini and pumpkins in my garden every summer! Yes pumpkin blossoms work for this recipe too! They are hard to distinguish actually but I find pumpkins can be heartier than zucchini and the pumpkin especially yield a ton of blossoms so I plant both. These two veggies really are not my favorites but the exquisite blossoms they produce ARE! I use them on top of pizza, in risotto, even raw in summer salads, but my family’s favorite is fried and battered. You will want to pick the blossoms from your garden early in the morning, while they are still open (as the sun gets higher they close up). This will allow you to see and pick out any critters that are hiding in them. Picking them when the blossoms are open also makes them easier to stuff. If you can’t fry them all at once, do what I do. Pick them every summer morning and store them in an airtight container with a paper towel in your fridge. As long as long as you don’t overcrowd and squish them they will last at least a week or two. You may want to invest in a few extra large containers just for this purpose. When you are ready to fry you should have a decent amount of flowers to cook up and enjoy! Oh, and don’t wash the flowers, simply remove the pistil from inside and the sepals from the top of stem. Keep the stem on as a handy-dandy “Fior fi Zucca Fritti” holder. And for the love of Nonna and all things Italian- please do NOT throw away an ‘extra batter”. See Nonna Notes below.
4 cups double “00” flour (you can replace with all-purpose but we really prefer “00”)
2 tablespoons parsley fresh chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cloves of fresh garlic grated
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 eggs beaten
4 ½ cups sparkling water (traditionally used to add crispness to the batter, you can also just use plain water and add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder if you wish instead)
½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
12-16 fresh zucchini blossoms (sepal and pistil removed)
Neutral oil for frying 1” deep (light olive oil or vegetable oil)
Grated zucchini for extra batter (See Nonna’s Notes below)
In a bowl mix together the flour, eggs, garlic, parsley, water, grated cheese, salt & pepper with a fork or hand mixer. If you are stuffing the blossoms, do so now, remember less is more, so just 1 anchovy and ½” X 2” piece of cheese per blossom. Feel free to mix it up, keep some plain and concoct your own fillings as you like. Then place each blossom in the batter one by one, gently coating it all around with batter. Place about an 1 inch of canola or vegetable oil in a deep pan for frying. Turn flame to medium-high, once a drop of plain batter sizzles up and floats turn the heat down to medium and begin frying. Fry in batches a few blossoms at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown and they float you will have to turn them once. Place hot fried flowers onto a paper towel lined plate and enjoy right away! You may sprinkle with a little sea salt if you like.
Clean all flowers before you start. Do not wet them, rather just remove the pistil & sepals.
Nonna Notes: If you have extra batter don’t let it go to waste! You can fry it, just as is for a treat or you can add grated zucchini to it. Grate zucchini on a box grater, add a little salt, squeeze out all the excess water with your hands and mix into the excess batter. Fry the same as you would with the blossoms, just use a spoon to gently place into hot oil.