I first encountered a fried zucchini blossom in Italy at Velia's Cooking Scool. I always knew that you COULD eat flowers. But just because you CAN eat something, does that mean you SHOULD?
Yes. Definitively, in the case of the zucchini blossoms, the answer is yes.
When I talked about fried green tomatoes, I recognized that all manner of foodstuffs can be fried. But should they? I must add zucchini blossoms in with green tomatoes when I say that, yes, indeedy – please and thank you!
Here are the blossoms we made in Velia's kitchen in Orvieto:
Over the weekend, I got brave enough to try this on my own. I wanted to fry my blossoms in a beer batter, as it makes for a flavorful (hoppy!) and light fry batter. For reference, I consulted Epicurious.
Epicurious notes that fried zucchini blossoms are like the jalapeno poppers of Italy. I take issue with this. I don't have anything against the popper, but I don't like to think that these delicate floral treats are sharing a barstool with the rough-and-tumble jalapeno popper. On the short list of fried food delicacies, zucchini blossoms top it.
And now how to make them(modified from the Epicurious recipe):
What You Need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 bottle chilled lagerstyle beer (I used Yuengling)
Zucchini blossoms (stamens removed; about 8-10)
What To Do:
In a large, shallow pot or frying pan, heat about 2" oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°.
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl, then whisk in beer until almost smooth (some small lumps are welcome—don't overwhisk or you'll deflate the batter).
One by one, dredge the blossoms in batter, shaking off the excess; gently lay them in the oil. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side.
I actually cooked mine one at a time, because I wanted to get the timing right, not burn them (or myself) and practice my flipping skills without disrupting the other blossoms.
Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt and devour while hot - but not too hot!
You can absolutely stuff them (like poppers) Ricotta cheese works nicely, and I happen to think Gorgonzola is quite a tasty stuffer as well.
Put a teaspoon full of cheese into the center of the blossom, dredge in batter, and fry as indicated above.