What: Beer-battered and fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese
Why: Even though we’re about to have an abundance of our own blossoms from the garden, I couldn’t help buying these guys at the market. They looked too appealing to pass up.
Result: Delicious! A light tempura-like crispy outside with a creamy cheese filling. The flower itself has a delicate squash flavor, especially at the base.
Recipe with pictures follows after the jump…
For the filling, whisk together 8 ounces of ricotta cheese, a minced garlic clove, 1 egg, pinch of salt, some ground pepper, and about 4 chopped basil leaves. When the mixture is smooth, scoop into a piping bag (I used a quart sized freezer bag, and when ready to fill, cut off one corner.) This can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until ready.
To stuff, untwist the flower petals and very gently hold them open. Be very careful not to tear the flower because that will mean less filling will fit.
Pipe in the filling. Be careful not to overfill like I did. If the petals do not fully close over the filling, it will ooze out during frying. Then the oil sputters, and that’s no fun.
Gently close up the blossoms by twisting the tips of the petals together.
This is what they’ll look like when they’re done. Keep in mind that these could have been stuffed a little less.
For the batter, whisk together 2/3 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of beer. Drink the rest of the beer while you cook.
To fry, heat a good couple inches of oil in a pan. For all deep frying, we use a mini karai, which is like an Indian wok. Because of the wok-like shape, you need less oil than if you were using a sauce pan. But use whatever deep frying method works for you.
Drop a little batter into the oil to test whether it’s hot enough; it should sizzle immediately. When the oil is ready, drench a blossom in batter, shake off the excess, and gently slip into the oil. Repeat until the pan is comfortably full, make sure not to overfill (I can only fit 3 or 4 at a time in ours). Using a slotted spoon, flip the blossoms after a minute or so. When they’re lightly browned (maybe 4 minutes total?), remove with the spoon, and let rest on a paper-towel lined plate.
You can keep them warm by setting the plate in the microwave or oven with the door closed (but don’t turn on the heat). Repeat until you’re done. I had some batter left over, so I mixed in some sliced onion, and fried up some tempura/pakora.