Deep fried zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta

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Last week I went to Pentenried (a small village near Münich/Bavaria/Germany) and I picked up some beautiful zucchini flowers. Then I got the next recipe from my Italian friend Luca, whose sister has a restaurant in Pontremoli (Toscana). So the recipe is from an absolute reliable source!

By the way the zucchini flower has got to rank as one of the most exquisite and delicious vegetable treats ever! You can vary the stuffing – or even leave it out altogether – and the dish will still be fantastic

Ingredients: 8–12 zucchini flowers, Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
For the filling: 100g ricotta, 2 good tablespoons grated Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavored hard cheese, a large handful of mixed herbs, such as parsley and chives with a little marjoram or thyme, or parsley and a little mint, finely chopped, Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the batter: 100g plain flour, 40g corn flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt, 200–225ml ice-cold sparkling mineral water to finish, flaky sea salt

Directions: For the filling, beat the ricotta until soft and smooth then stir in the cheese, herbs and some salt and pepper. Carefully scoop the filling into the zucchini flowers: you should get 2–4 teaspoons in each one, depending on size. Twist the petals gently to enclose the mixture.
Just before you’re ready to cook, prepare the batter. Sift the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Begin whisking in the water, until you have a batter the thickness of single cream. Be careful not to over-mix and don’t worry if there are a few lumps.
Meanwhile, heat about a 6cm depth of oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep, heavy saucepan (to come no more than a third of the way up the pan), till a cube of bread dropped in turns golden brown in about 1 minute.
Dip one stuffed zucchini flower into the batter and immediately lower into the hot oil. Repeat with a couple more; do not cook more than 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for 1–2 minutes, until puffed up, crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper while you cook the remaining flowers.
Serve as soon as possible, sprinkled with a little flaky sea salt.

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