Although I had previously tried a boiled stuffed zucchini flower recipe because I wasn’t that keen on deep frying, I had to try this recipe just once to see what the fuss was about. And it was delicious so I might do it again for a special occasion (or keep my eye out for where someone else will do it for me). This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver to fit with what I had in the garden.
100-200g Ricotta cheese, preferably home-made
Small handful grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Zest of a lemon
Small bunch of fresh herbs (I used mint and oregano)
1 fresh chili, finely chopped (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup self-raising flour (or add 1tsp baking powder to plain flour)
1 cup white wine or sparling water
A small piece of potato (to test heat of oil)
Beat the ricotta in a bowl with the parmesan, nutmeg, lemon zest, chopped herbs and chili. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Plunge zucchini into iced water to rinse and freshen. Open the flowers gently and remove the bitter stamen. With a teaspoon, carefully fill each flower with the ricotta mixture.
To make a light tempura style batter, put the flour into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Pour in the white wine and whisk until thick and smooth. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream and coat your finger if you stick it in. Adjust thickness by adding more flour or more wine if necessary.
Pour the oil into a deep fat fryer or large deep saucepan so that it is about 4 inches deep. While it is heating, get some tongs and put a double layer of paper towels on a plate for draining. Heat the oil to about 180C. If you are using a saucepan, put in a piece of potato: as soon as the potato turns golden, floats to the surface and starts to sizzle, the oil is about the right temperature. Remove the potato.
One by one, dip the stuffed zucchini flowers into the batter making sure they are completely covered and let any excess drip off. Place carefully into the hot oil. Fry until golden and crisp all over, then lift out of the oil and drain on the paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve with lemon and herbs.
They look and taste amazing! Eat them straightaway whilst they are still crisp and hot.
If you have left over batter you can use it to make tempura style vegetables. If you don’t have zucchini flowers, this recipe works just as well with just the zucchini (and other vegetables you have to hand).
If you have left over herbed ricotta, it is delicious served on crostini.