One of the delicious Calabrese traditions I grew up with was sitting down for a plateful of Nonna’s famous fried zucchini flower fritters before our main course. If you haven’t tried a zucchini flower before, you are missing out! These flowers are delicate, flavorful, and beautifully colored, and make for a great appetizer to any meal.
Since my zucchini plant has been blooming with many flowers this season, I took it as a sign that it was time to fry up the delicious zucchini flower fritters I grew up on, but with my own Pleadings & Pasta twist.
So I took to reconstruct the traditional recipe but with a more modernized pub flair. I am a big fan of jalapeño poppers, but often find them to be a bit too heavy for my liking. So, instead, I took the concept of the jalapeño popper, “Mediterraneanized” it, and arrived at the delicious and comforting Zucchini Flower Poppers recipe below.
The great thing about this recipe is it’s customizable, easy to make, and is a perfect summer recipe to accommodate all of the summer blooming zucchini blossoms. Also, it gives you that to die for combination of warm gooey cheese in the middle of fried goodness, but with a lighter feel. Watch out though, that means you’ll probably want to (and be able to) eat more of them!
Zucchini Flower Poppers
by Pleadings & Pasta © 2013
- 12-13 zucchini blossoms; delicately rinsed and stamens removed*
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil or your other favorite fresh herbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup of flour
- 3/4 cup of beer (whatever is on hand, preferably a lighter or wheat beer)
- Olive Oil
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated
- Rinse off your flowers and let them dry completely. This will help in the frying process. You can let them air dry on a paper towel or alternatively in the fridge to keep them fresh and prevent wilting
- Continue by mixing the goat cheese, chopped herb, salt and pepper together and set aside
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour and beer together. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture. The consistency should be like that of pancake batter.
- Start filling the zucchini blossoms with a mound of the goat cheese mixture.. Be careful not to tear the flower petals. I noticed it was easiest to insert a rolled up ball of the mixture right inside that wasn’t too large so it sat at the bottom inside of the flower. Push the petals together to close up the flower so the filling doesn’t escape during frying.
- Fill a pan or pot with several inches of olive oil or frying oil of choice. Heat to medium heat, or approximately 350 degrees.
- Place the filled zucchini blossoms into the batter until fully coated, then lay them into the hot pan of oil. After 2-4 minutes the first side will be brown, and you can flip them over for another 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat once golden brown and let them drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as a finishing touch and serve!
This Pleadings & Pasta original was by far one of my favorite creations, and it’s sure to become a favorite of yours too. And of course, wash down the delectable poppers with the beer you used for the batter to bring the pub atmosphere into your very own kitchen.
* A quick gardener’s note for those using flowers from their own garden. I am a new gardener, and I was hesitant to start picking the beautiful flowers I worked so hard to take care of before they became bright green zucchini. However, rest assured you can pick the male zucchini flowers (skinny stem with stamen in the middle) as they only serve the purpose to pollinate the female flowers and never will become zucchini. So once your female flowers are pollinated, don’t let them the male flowers go to waste and fry up a few with the recipe above!
Eat with all of your heart,