Fried Zucchini Flowers
The essence of summer - zucchini flowers are only available for a few weeks so make the most of them when they are around with these delicious ones stuffed with ricotta and fried in a light, crisp batter. Serve with warm marinara for dipping, if you like.
Vegetable oil, for frying
12 large zucchini flowers with stems
¾ cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup grated whole milk mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 tablespoons grated pecorino
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ to 1 1/2 cups chilled plain seltzer or beer
In a deep skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil to 360 degrees F.
Gently open up the flowers and remove the stamen from inside of each (it looks like a little yellow stick). Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino and parsley in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. You can spoon the filling into the flowers or transfer the filling to a zip top bag, snip an end off and pipe it in (which is a little neater.) Either way, fill all of the flowers and twist the ends to close them up.
Whisk the flour, baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk in enough seltzer (start with 1 1/4 cup) to make a smooth batter slightly thinner than pancake batter.
When the oil has come up to temperature, hold the flowers by the stem and dip the flowers in batter one at a time. Add half to the oil and cook, turning once, until the batter is crisp and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes in all. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining zucchini flowers (letting the oil return to 360 degrees first.) Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.