First time I had fried zucchini flowers was years ago at my pal Gena's. As she points out on her blog (click here for a bunch of her nifty recipes) they were a treat in her home growing up, but certainly nothing like that showed up chez Sullivan in Webster Groves, Missouri. (Fried pig snout once, but that's a story for another day.)
In East Hampton we're lucky to have Balsam Farm where they're delighted to pick-to-order given a day's notice (on Long Lane in Amagansett). Good thing too as they are extremely perishable. How can you not be excited by this big blue tray of electrifying orange flowers waiting just for you? Shivers!
When it comes to fillings, pretty much the sky's the limit, though like love, your first is always special. So I do Gena's smoked mozzarella and anchovy. Funny how persistent the "I don't like anchovies attitude" is. Yes, they can be strong straight up (fine by me though), but when melded into other flavors they bring depth and a meaty saltiness. If there's an Anchovy Advisory Board out there, hope your listening. Get the word out!
Gena's batter is simple and sublime. Equal parts flour and sparkling beverage (wine, beer or seltzer). A bit of baking powder works its small miracle inflating the flowers into irresistible puff balls of savory satisfaction.
For a recent party I busted out my outdoor fryer. Propane fueled, it has a shallow pan, vs. those deep turkey fryer pots. Just the thing when you want a big fry-up for a crowd. In addition to the zucchini blossoms I also did the baby bluefish and panko-crusted scallops that day.
Irresistible hot from the pot with a dash of salt, they're also delightful sharing space on a plate with a simple salad of sliced tomato, cucumber and herbs. I've been into fresh oregano leaves lately. Nice alternative to the omnipresent basil.
Tempus fugit — we'll only have the blossoms for a few more weeks. Get your groove on people and have yourself an sensuous end-of-summer fling with these beautiful fried zucchini flowers.