Wednesday, July 9, 2008

zuchinni blossoms: live to fry, fry to live

la porte rouge, the inspiration

I lifted this photo from eat to blog, and according to them it's blossom time!

A beautiful photographer posted a beautiful photo on her beautiful blog and it reminded me it's that, uh... beautiful time of year. It's zucchini blossom time (almost like hammer time)! Diets be damned for one day or two...we are going to fry.

We know an incredible cook with a big green thumb with a farm upstate NY. She's the mom of a great friend of ours and she invites us up in the summertime and we always end up picking all kinds of wonderful things her garden is growing and cook up a storm. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, she moved to the country when her kids were teenagers and somehow made it all work.

It's where I got the idea to grow my own food (and then use it to cook.) We call our time up there "the Upstate Kibbutz", because you know, there's always good work to do.

Once, we were walking through her garden and I asked her if she ever made fritters from the hundreds of zucchini blossoms she had growing. She said, "no, but I think I have a recipe for that in my Marcella Hazan cookbook". She's good like that.

We ended up making fritters of whatever we could find--little squash and zucchinis and sage and spinach leaves and tender spring onions. We also made a big mess, but that's part of the fun of making fritters. Those who say, say, that the males of the blossom family are best to use--the ones without the little squash sticking out of their behinds, but we just used whatever we could find. We're not two broads who follow the rules as she would say.

this photo was lifted from Kitchenography.
She has some great tips for the serious blossom fryer.

Marcella Hazan's Crisp-Fried Zucchini Blossoms
with some little notes by me

(I usually substitute chickpea flour, sort of like a blossom pakora)

1 dozen (she says male) blossoms
vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour and 1 cup water (cold water I say) to make a pastella
a soup plate, a mesh strainer, a fork and a frying pan

1. wash blossoms rapidly undcer cold running water but don't let them soak. Pat gently to dry and make sure you get out any little creatures residing temporarily within. If the stems are long, cut them to about 1 inch. Make a cut on one side of each blossom's base to open the flower flat, butterfly fashion.

2. Make a Pastella:
put one cup of water in a soup plate and gradually add the flour, shaking it through a strainer and, with a fork, constantly beating the mixture that forms. When all the flour has been mixed with the water, it should have the consistency of sour cream. If it is thicker add a little water. if it's thinner add a little more flour.

3. Add enough oil in a pan to come up to 3/4inch up the sides and turn heat to high.
When the oil is very hot, use the blossoms stems to dip them quickly in the batter and slip them into the skillet. Put in only as many as will fit very loosely.
When they have turned a golden brown crust on one side, turn them carefully and do the other side.
Transfer with tongs to a cooler rackor better yet, a plate with a paper towels or brown paper grocery bags.

When you're all done, sprinkle with salt and serve piping hot.

Eat. Delicious.

You'll have batter left over. You will. Fry whatever you can find. If you don't fry much, like we don't fry much, it's a rare opportunity to party. OK, I better start thinking about jewelry again.


Julie @ Belle Maison said...

I recently had squash blossoms for the first time (i didn't even know what they were!) and they were fantastic! They were actually sauteed and stuffed with some special cheese and herb mixture, but I guess frying is most common. I'd love to give this recipie a go sometime soon!

Lore said...

This sounds great and looks delicious too. I've never had squash blossoms before.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making me discover your beautiful blog visiting mine. I love fried zucchini flowers and make them the Roman way, stuffed with mozzarella an anchovy, very yummie. :) Ciao from Amsterdam!

Anonymous said...

Okay this sounds delicious- are those packaged blossoms from your garden-wow what a harvest.

I wanted to tell you that in the last few weeks your blog has been such an inspiration- you show how to live life i-fully. Your recipes are so refreshing I am a raw foodie who struggles at time, but your recipes make me feel guilt free, because they are so beautifully put together and almost always includes something you harvest or find at the farmers market.

Your necklaces are lovely and it them lies so much talent, I would like one day soon to wear one around my neck.

Bonbon oiseau visiting your blog is like mapping the life i aspire to live.

I can not thank you enough for sharing it with me.

Anonymous said...

my specially is typos as you can see!!!

Anonymous said...


Krissy | Paper Schmaper said...

I didn't even know you could eat the blossoms. I might have to give this a try :)

Anonymous said...

Our familia loves these! Glad you find good times here in Upstate NY! :)

Bonbon Oiseau said...

See - Squash can inspire!

Nadia--thank you so much for your sweet words. I find so much inspiration in your blog as well.

I am so happy to have found you!
(and i love your typos!!)

Anonymous said...

I have never, ever had these! But, really, if you fry anything (grass, cardboard, a pencil) I'll try it - so maybe I'll give it a go! :)

Helene said...

It's been ages since I had fried zucchini blossoms...since I left home. They never keep them around here and I don't think I have bugged my produce guy quite enough to get some!! Yumm!