RECIPE: FRIED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS
ADAPTED FROM EUGENIA BONE'S ORIGINAL RECIPE
30 zucchini flowers
2 c. flour
2 c. sparkling wine, beer or a mix of flat white wine and seltzer
2 t. baking powder
1 ball of smoked mozzarella
1 tin of anchovies (flat, not rolled)
oil for frying
Check flowers for bugs or dirt — brush out any unpleasantness; do not wash.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, liquid of choice, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate for a least an hour. The batter will get thick and slightly bubbly.
Cut the mozzarella into 1/2" cubes. Lay out the anchovies on a cutting board and slice them to make 30 pieces in all.
Gently open the flowers and put a piece of anchovy in the bottom, then a cube or two of cheese, depending on the size of the flower. You want to pinch the tops of the flowers closed after they're stuffed. You may end up with cheese left over. If not frying immediately keep them cool or in the fridge.
Heat an inch of frying oil (not olive oil) in a straight-sided pan or shallow pot. On medium high heat, bring to frying temperature, @350 °. If it starts smoking you've gone too far, remove from heat immediately and let cool down. The oil is ready when a drop of batter starts sizzling as soon as you drop it in.
Have a tray lined with paper towels or newspaper handy when you start frying. Take a stuffed flower and dunk it in the batter, coating well all around, then lower into the oil. Don't crowd the pan. Use a spoon to separate them if any are stuck together.
Fry for about 2 minutes or until you see the edges of the flowers turn golden brown. Flip them over in the oil, fry for another minute then lift from the oil with a strainer, and hold over the pot for a few seconds to let excess oil drip off.
Note: during the frying some of the blossoms might leak cheese. Don't worry, it doesn't matter in the end.
Lay the fried flowers on the lined pan, sprinkle with salt and keep in a warm oven until you're ready to serve. These push the boundaries of finger food — so if you're passing them make sure you have cocktail napkins at the ready.
Makes 30 pieces; plan on at least 3 per person.