Zucchini plants produce 2 types of flowers – male and female at a rate of 3:1. While either will work for this recipe, using the male flowers allows the zucchini plant to continue normal production. Only the female flowers will turn into fruit and an over-abudnance of male polinating flowers exist to make sure that all the females are able to produce. Female blossoms can be identified by the small ball on their stem at the base of the flower head. Male flowers have a plain stem going into the flower itself.
The blossoms and stems will likely be prickly before they are cooked, but they soften significantly. They will taste like mild squash, not at all like flowers.
20 zucchini blossoms with 2″ stems attached
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used sage & rosemary)
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pale beer (may be replaced with club soda)
1 cup vegetable oil
Mix together the cheeses, herbs, egg, and sea salt until a smooth consistency is achieved.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the beer and flour, making sure no lumps remain. Set aside.
Clean flowers with a damp paper towel if needed. Gently open the petals and remove the pistil. Pipe or spoon about 1 tbs of filling into the flowers. Twist the top of the petals together to close the flowers.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. It’s ready when a small drop of batter placed in the oil sizzles to the top. Dip flowers one by one into the batter, allowing the excess drip off. Carefully place the battered flower into the hot oil. Repeat until pan is full, but not crowded. You will need to do this stage in rounds.
When the batter has puffed and turned golden (1-2 minutes), turn over using tongs to cook the other side. Remove flowers from oil and place on a paper-towel lined tray.
Once all the flowers have been cooked, serve immediately.
Optional: If you need to wait to serve the finished blossoms, keep them in the oven on WARM for up to an hour.