It's zucchini flower season and these wonderful zucchini blossoms are wonderful stuffed with cheese and deep fried. I filled mine with a cacio e pepe style of filling with cheese and black pepper and then drizzled them with honey! This Dear Reader is the food of the gods (and yes, a pushy recipe)!
I know, you hate deep frying. I do too. I'm terrified of it. But I promise that it won't spit at you at all. The batter for these zucchini flowers is thick (ironically producing a light as air coating) and there was not a drop of hot oil spitting at me whatsoever. Deep fried food only splatters if there is water in it so I usually don't wash my zucchini flowers, or if I need to, I make sure to pat it very, very dry with paper towels or a teatowel.
A bit about zucchini flowers: Did you know that zucchinis are technically a fruit? There are female and male zucchini flowers. The female zucchini flower has a cluster of 3 stamens inside while the male has a single one. The easiest way to tell is by the zucchini stem-the female stem is thicker and shorter while the male is taller and thinner.
The stamen (right) removed from the female zucchini flower
How to cook with zucchini flowers: it's so easy to use zucchini flowers! Just trim the end of the stem and gently open up the flower and remove the stamen; it should snap off easily in one piece (you can actually keep these in too if you want as they're edible). Then just fill with your favourite filling and deep fry!
The easiest, lightest and crunchiest batter is just 3 ingredients: self raising flour, salt and soda water! You can also use this batter for fish fillets too.
Beer or soda water? You can use either, the carbonation is the most important part.
Other fillings? A classic filling is soft goat's cheese and ricotta. Use 75g/2.6ozs ricotta and 75g/2.6ozs of goat's cheese and 50g/1.7ozs. of parmesan (this should be enough even if your zucchini blossoms are really large). Mozzarella is also delicious in zucchini flowers and you can also add some anchovies to the filling to make it more flavoursome and salty.
Can you reheat fried zucchini flowers in the oven? While nothing beats freshly fried zucchini flowers, you can also get them crisp again in the oven. I had a few leftover so the next day I put them in a 160C/320F oven for 10-12 minutes and they crisped up again. They weren't quite as crunchy as freshly fried but they were pretty damn close!
Other ways to use zucchini flowers: these dehydrate well for a pretty decoration. I love using them in this zucchini flower tart too!
So now that I've pushed you to make these zucchini flowers can I offer some other pushy suggestions for tv shows? I am ruthless with my viewing selections. I usually give a show or movie 20 minutes MAX so I promise these three will grab you straight away. None of these suggestions are sponsored, they're just shows I loved.
For when you need time off from 2020: Why Women Kill. I actually thought that this was a documentary series about female serial killers but WWK is the complete opposite of that. It's frothy, campy and fun and has three storylines set in the same house during three different decades. There's one set in the 50s, 80s and current day. The production values are top notch and it is a very entertaining dramedy featuring cast like Lucy Liu and Ginnifer Goodwin. It's free on SBS on demand.
For nostalgia and then some: Cobra Kai. I am an 80's kid and watched the Karate Kid and enjoyed it but I didn't think that I'd like Cobra Kai because well, sequels mostly suck. Except this. This is AMAZING. It follows current day Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence and explores their rivalry in more detail. We also see things from Johnny's perspective (in the same way that Wicked did with the Witch of the West) plus there's a new generation cast. Plus I definitely want to learn karate after this. On Netflix.
For the amazing footage and surprisingly touching storyline: My Octopus Teacher. Where do I begin with this movie? Filmmaker Craig Foster lives off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. While going through a rough patch at work he would free dive and explore the kelp forest to escape. There he came across an octopus with whom he forged a real, genuine and apparently reciprocal bond. Octopi are incredibly intelligent creatures and you can absolutely see why he became so besotted with this clever little octopus. There are genuine moments of suspense and thrills in this and almost everything is captured on film. On Netflix.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like zucchini flowers? Have you watched any of these shows and if so, what did you think of them? Do you have any recommendations?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Cacio e Pepe Stuffed Zucchini Flowers With Honey
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 8 zucchini flowers
- 100g/3.5ozs. ricotta cheese
- 75g/2.6ozs. grated pecorino cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 100g/3.5ozs. plain all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 250ml/8.8flozs. chilled soda water
- 1 litre/34flozs. oil for deep frying
- Honey for drizzling
- Lemon and mint for serving
Step 1 - Prepare the zucchini flowers by chopping off the end of the stem (leave the small zucchini attached which you can use to pick up the zucchini flowers once cooked). Gently pry apart the petals and remove the bright yellow stamens inside-they should snap off.
Step 2 - Mix the ricotta and pecorino cheese with the black pepper and season with salt to taste. Shape into balls that will fit inside the flower petals and gently push down. Wrap the petals around to seal around the cheese. Place on a tray in the fridge until ready to fry.
Step 3 - To make the batter, whisk the two flours, baking powder and salt together but only add the water in when the oil is heated to the right temperature. Heat the oil until it has reached 180C/350F and have a tray lined with paper towels ready. Then add the chilled soda water to the flour and dip the zucchini flowers in the batter. It will be thick and airy - I twist the flowers in the same direction in the batter that I've wrapped them so that they don't unravel.
Step 4 - Fry 3-4 zucchini flowers at a time for 1.5 minutes on each side before turning over. Drain on paper towels before placing on a serving plate and drizzle with honey. Serve with lemon and mint.