Monday, August 27

Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Spicy Tomato Sauce

I'm always afraid to make fried foods (except for the time I made some killer fried chicken) but have been intrigued by the zucchini blossoms at my weekly farmers market. Eating flowers might sound strange, but this is actually a popular dish in Italy - and for good reason. The blossoms have a lovely flavor and the batter makes them light and crisp. I like to serve them with a spicy tomato dipping sauce and a sprinkle of large sea salt flakes.

Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Spicy Tomato Sauce:
For Sauce
  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add in 2 minced garlic cloves and a large pinch of red chile flakes.
  • Add in 1/2 pt. cherry tomatoes, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and falling apart.
  • Remove the thyme stems and transfer the mixture to a blender.
  • Puree until smooth, adding a little water to thin it out as necessary.
  • Set aside.*
For Zucchini Blossoms
  • Add several inches of oil to a large pot or dutch oven and heat until very hot and shimmering but not smoking.**
  • Meanwhile, combine 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, 1/4 c. cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
  • In another dish, beat 2 eggs and a splash of milk and season with salt and pepper.
  • Use a damp towel to brush any dirt off the zucchini blossoms, then dunk in the egg mixture and then coat in the flour mixture.
  • Drop a few blossoms at a time into the oil and fry until crisp and lightly golden, about 2 minutes a side.
  • Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt.
  • Repeat with remaining zucchini blossoms, then arrange on a plate and serve with tomato sauce.

Serves two-three (starter)
*Can be covered and kept in the fridge one day in advance. Reheat before serving.
**Or use a deep-fryer if you have one. I don't use a thermometer, but I usually test one before doing the whole batch. The oil should bubble furiously but not brown the blossoms too quickly.