Stuffed zucchini flowers are a favorite all over Italy. This version is filled with traditional ricotta and basil filling, then deep-fried until crisp. Use them as an outstanding appetizer or as a substantial garnish.
These appetizers are favorites all over Italy. Come springtime, menus are chockfull of regional variations. This is a classic filling, but other herbs and seasonings would work well, too. Use your imagination–and what’s on hand. A sprinkle of chile flakes certainly wouldn’t go amiss.–Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
HOW DO I CLEAN SQUASH BLOSSOMS?
Squash blossoms start to show up at the beginning of the summer. Often, home gardeners will grow a crop of zucchini just for the flowers rather than the summer squash themselves, that’s just how delicious they are. When choosing blossoms, you’ll want to pick up the ones that are brightly colored and not shriveled up. Use them as soon as you can, as they definitely don’t get better with age. Then you can prep them for cooking. Since the actual flower is the only edible part, you’ll first need to remove the spiny leaves around the bottom with a sharp knife. Then you just need to gently pull out the pistil or stamen from inside the blossom. Some cooks prefer to leave a bit of the stem on, to provide something to hang on to when dipping and eating but that’s entirely up to you.
Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
For the batter
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 egg whites organic
For the zucchini flowers
- 1 cup soft ricotta
- 20 zucchini flowers
- 4 tablespoons basil leaves
- 3 cups sunflower oil
- 2 lemons
Make the batter
Prepare the zucchini flowers
- Remove the stamens and the green bits at the base.
- Season the ricotta. Push 1 teaspoon of ricotta and a basil leaf inside each flower. Press together.
- Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) in a deep skillet. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the batter.
- Dip the flowers one at a time into the batter. Tap gently to knock off excess, and carefully place as many as you can without touching into the hot oil. Fry until light brown, then turn to crisp the other side.
- Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with lemon.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
The batter on these fritters is extremely light thanks to the whipped egg whites. The filling is classic and is delicious as is or you can add some garlic paste or lemon zest for a little extra punch of flavor.
I grew zucchini this year with the sole purpose of frying the flowers, so I was really excited to see this recipe. The batter was fantastic! I'm used to seeing batters that use fizzy waters to lighten them, so I was very interested in the egg white technique. The resulting batter was super light and incredibly crisp and the fermenting time gave it a great taste.
The stuffing was also incredible. The whole leaves of basil made it so herbaceous. And, the shower of fresh lemon at the end was the perfect punch of acid. This is an amazing recipe that I will definitely be returning to all summer. This would be a great appetizer for 4 people. We had it as a meal and it served 2 people really well. I did dip some okra in the extra batter, and it was fantastic.
Originally published February 19, 2004