Zucchini flowers are perfect for stuffing. In the following recipe, the flowers are filled with cheese before frying. The result is a creamy, flavorful filling and a supercrisp crust.
For years, my go-to deep-frying batter has been made of roughly equal parts beer and flour. But I wanted the batter for this dish to be crisper, more like tempura, so I added seltzer and baking soda and swapped out half of the flour for cornstarch. Unlike flour, cornstarch has no gluten, which ensures a thinner, more delicate coating that nonetheless holds its shape.
You’ll want to mix the batter just before using it to prevent the bubbles from evaporating. Combine the dry ingredients and park them on the counter while you prep the blossoms and begin to heat the oil. When the oil is almost up to temperature, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix the batter quickly. Take care not to rip the petals while stuffing the flower with cheese, then close the open end of the flower by twisting the petals like a New Year’s Eve party popper. The cheese should stay put and not leak into the oil.
Choose a pan with deep sides and fill it with no more than 1½ or 2 inches of oil. Make sure the oil has a high smoke point. Use a deep-fat thermometer to keep track of the temperature and try to maintain it at a constant 365 F. Depending on the size of your pan, fry no more than three or four stuffed blossoms at a time. This will ensure that the temperature of the oil neither drops nor bubbles over the top. If the temperature begins to creep up, pull the pan off the flame and/or add a little cool oil. Transfer each batch of fried blossoms to a paper towel-lined sheet pan, sprinkle lightly with salt and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest.
CHEESE STUFFED ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS
Start to finish: 30 minutes
12 squash blossoms
1/2 ounce coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 ounce mozzarella, cut into 12 cubes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 3/8 ounces)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice-cold beer
1/2 cup ice-cold seltzer
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite store brand), heated
Basil sprigs for garnish
To serve: Spoon one-fourth of the marinara sauce into the bottom of each of four soup bowls, arrange three fried blossoms on top and garnish with a basil sprig.
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