When I went to Rome last September, I roamed from restaurant to restaurant, desperately asking (in my pathetic version of Italian): "Fiori di zucca fritta?" Fried zucchini blossoms? And the answer was a resounding: "No, not in season." Argh.
I had never had fried zucchini blossoms and had never made fried zucchini blossoms, but my grandmother always talks about making them back in the day. So this has been my quest: to find them, to make them, to eat them.
Then yesterday, at the Delmar Farmer's Market, I spied a bushel of them, although I was completely put off by the price - $1 a blossom - and knew my grandmother would be totally outraged if I paid that price. So I walked on by and then I walked back, and looked longingly. My friend Dorothy finally said, "Just buy them!" So I asked if I could get a deal if I bought a bunch. I ended up with 18 blossoms for $8, which is not bad at all. That's them above and below, before I removed the stems and trimmed them. Aren't they pretty?
Now to figure out what to do with the delicate blossoms. So I looked through a Rome book Dennis bought me last Christmas and found a recipe I could adapt, which means I was planning to leave out the anchovies. I don't care how much flavor they have. Blech.
I washed the blossoms and patted them dry. Then I took goat cheese and stuffed it into each flower, wrapping the petals around it. UPDATED: The second time I did this recipe, I added some chopped fresh basil, some chopped scallions, a scoop of cream cheese and a splash of half and half to the goat cheese and mashed it all together before stuffing. Yum. Try that. Next I dipped it in a flour batter made with flour, water, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of white vinegar. Finally, they went into the frying pan, where I cooked them in oil for about five minutes. Remove, place on a warmed platter and sprinkle with coarse salt. Like this:
The result: Squisito! I fully expected to get at least four of the blossoms, but my girls liked them so much I got only two. I'm making another round tonight and may try tweaking the goat cheese filling by blending in some garlic or other flavoring. We'll see.
I reported all this to my grandmother with pride. When she made them, she didn't stuff them, just battered and fried them up. I may try that another day, if I happen upon a bushel of blossoms for a good price before the season is over.