Recipe: Fried Zucchini Blossoms Filled with Mozzarella, Marjoram, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
This still from Fellini’s Amarcord reminds me of the end of summer, or what the end of summer should ideally feel like, a peaceful, breezy transition to a cooler place. My end-of-summer transition usually takes place in the kitchen, not on the Adriatic coast, but one of my tricks for a smooth passage is to hold on to summer as long as possible. I guess you’d call that denial. Finding zucchini blossoms at the Greenmarket in early September helps considerably. So here’s an ode-to-the-end-of-summer recipe for you, fried zucchini blossoms filled with mozzarella, marjoram, and tomato. One or two of these won’t blow your diet, if you eat them before a light meal of fish and salad, and they’re all good, healthy stuff. Make sure to fry them in extra-virgin olive oil for the best taste.
Fried Zucchini Blossoms Filled with Mozzarella, Marjoram, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(Serves 5 as an appetizer)
1/2 pound mozzarella, cut into medium dice
20 fresh zucchini blossoms
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
The leaves from 5 marjoram sprigs
For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
A generous pinch of salt
A few scrapings of fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup cold water
Extra-virgin olive oil for frying
Gently open each blossom and pinch off the stamen, checking while you do for any dirt (or bugs) that might be trapped inside. Wipe the blossoms gently inside and out with damp paper towels (do this only if they look dirty; the zucchini blossoms I’ve been buying lately at farmers’ markets seem to be completely dirt free, but check them out and give them a very gentle wipe if needed).
Place a piece or two of mozzarella in each blossom. Add a few slices of sun-dried tomato and maybe four marjoram leaves. Twist the tops of the blossoms to close them up. You can fry them now or refrigerate them for a few hours.
To make the batter: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir well to blend. Add the cold water, and whisk until the batter is smooth. It should be a little thicker than heavy cream.
Fill a large sauté pan with about 2 inches of olive oil. Heat over medium-high flame until the oil starts to shimmer, but not until it’s smoking. You can test by flicking a few drops of batter into the pan. If they bubble and turn golden, the oil is ready.
Dip the blossoms in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Fry them in batches, about five at a time. Turn them when they look golden and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Using tongs, lift the blossoms from the oil onto paper towels to drain for a moment. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle them with salt and black pepper. Serve hot.