Every summer, my gardening friends shower me with loads of zucchini because they've grown too many and don't know what to do with all of it...other than make bread or kabobs. Lame. Rather than killing yourself over trying to avoid wasting your precious home grown vegetable...pick the flowers BEFORE they grow into zucchini. Yes...you can eat those flowers without feeling like a vegan. Cooking with zucchini flowers is a completely new ingredient to me...and so far the results are fab. I was able to pick up a bunch for about $4 at Detroit's Eastern Market. The woman that sold them to me said to check inside each flower to make sure no bees are in there...um...interesting. I've seen chef's use them on cooking shows so I had an idea as to what I wanted to do with them. Stuff em and fry em. It is a bit labor intensive, but myself and fellow taste testers would give them are calling them freakin' delicious! It's a cheap and creative way to serve a mini crowd of friends!
What you'll need:
- About 12 fresh zucchini flowers (avoid ones that are opened, torn, mushy...ew)
- About 3.5 oz of softened plain goat cheese
- Fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley and chives
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour (or whatever flour you have around)
- 1 cup of ice cold water
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-2 cups of canola or vegetable oil for frying
Prep your flowers by gently rinsing under cold water and pat dry. Gently pull back the petals, but not all the way...maybe half way down. Leave a short stem as this acts as a little handle. Next...make your goat cheese.
Chop up your herbs and throw about 2 tablespoons in a small bowl. Add in the goat cheese and mix together. Add your salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Set aside.
To make the batter, in a large bowl add your egg yolks and slowly whisk in the ice water until the mixture becomes frothy. Add the flour and stir until it becomes like a pancake batter.
Start heating up the oil over medium-high heat.
Stuffing the flowers is easy....add your cheese mixture to a ziploc bag and nip off a corner of the bag so that you can pipe the cheese into each flower. I piped about 1 tablespoon into each flower and press the petals together so that it is sealed. When the oil is ready for frying, take the stem of the flower and dip into the batter so that it is fully coated and add to the oil. Repeat for each flower. You can use more oil so that each flower is submerged or pan fry. If pan frying, flip when one side is nicely browned. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel or drain rack and immediately hit them with some salt. Serve with some wedges of lemon.