Crispy Zucchini Blossoms, stuffed with Mozzarella and Anchovies

 Originally posted on on Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Hello again

I made the most awesome fried, stuffed zucchini flowers this weekend!

They’re often prepared dipped in batter, deep fried and with a sprinkle of salt.  That’s how my Grandmother, Nonna Rosina made them. They have a delicate flavour that goes well with just about anything. I’ve even heard of them served as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar instead of salt. Blossoms are prepared in the summer, for the brief and precious time when they are in bloom from mid-June to late August. Lucky for me, growing up in Montreal, we lived in a duplex apartment just upstairs from my grandmother who had a large garden with an abundance of these delicious blossoms growing. I remember being so excited to find these, whenever I raided her fridge.  Jaaackpot.  

Nonna Rosina simply fried them after having dipped them into a thick batter which puffed up during the frying process. What causes the dough to puff up?  Well, her batter had “Magic” in it.

Magic is a common brand of baking powder sold in Canada.

In Montreal, I have found zucchini blossoms at Le Marche Jean-Talon. I used to grow them but have since removed my garden because we’re hardly ever home to take care of it. I also have a few friends that grow them and don’t mind sharing some with me 😉 I had a friend whose father grew them and sent me 30 of them one day! I was grateful but I was frying the whole evening long. Not that anyone else complained. I shared them with my family and friends from work.

They are great plain – no doubt, but I wanted to try something a little different this time.
I stuffed them with a piece of mozzarella cheese and a sliver of anchovy filet.
I know that when you read “anchovy” you nearly shut down your computer right there….You don’t have to use the anchovy but let me explain why I loved this idea before you say no.

The salty anchovy with the mild tasting mozzarella compliment each other so well. Then put those in a little fried package sprinkled with lemon and BAM!

My husband was opposed to this idea, like a lot of people, but as I expected he loved them! When asked about the Anchovy, he said reluctantly, “ok, well I like them like THIS recipe” 

I’m breaking him down-slowly.

Picture this – I came in from the sun and pool, whipped up a batch of these babies and we ate them sitting by the pool with a chilled glass of sparkling wine. The gooey cheese, the lemon and that umami from the anchovy made me feel like we were on a European holiday.

You can opt to stuff them with Feta cheese & roasted red pepper, ricotta egg (as a binder) and parmigiano cheese. The sky is the limit, stuff them with whatever you like!

Zucchini Blossoms

Stuffed with Mozzarella and Anchovy

Puffy batter
Simply blend the following ingredients until smooth :
2 large eggs
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of baking powder “nu’ poco di Magic”
Zucchini Flowers

12 zucchini flowers
1 large mozzarella ball, cut into narrow strips
12 anchovy filets

**Note: I use half a filet per flower for a more subtle taste. I cut them in half , lengthwise.

Salt to season
Use either Peanut, Vegetable or extra virgin olive oil for frying

Zest from 1/2 a lemon (Optional)
Instructions: (After reading, make sure to check out my pics & tips below)
With a dry dishtowel or soft pastry brush, gently brush off any dirt on the flower. Do not rinse with water. Check inside for any insects and shake them out.Gently reach into the flower without breaking the petals and very gently remove the inner stamen.  Also, leave at least 2 inches of the outer stem intact to aid in dipping and frying.

Remove the little sharp “thingies” at the base of the flower. See flower to the right, below…

Stuff zucchini flowers with an anchovy filet and a strip of mozzarella.**NOTE: I use a medium sized pot and put about 2 inches of oil. // I used peanut oil this time – worked out well.
Heat the oil.
Gently coat stuffed zucchini flowers with batter.Fry zucchini flowers in oil until golden brown.Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil and immediately season with salt. (and lemon zest if using)

Use either Peanut, Vegetable or extra virgin olive oil for frying

Tips & Pictures: 

Freshly picked in the morning, when the blossoms open. I had to fight off many , many bees to bring you this recipe…

Stamen removed, gently. Make sure not to hurt the flower 🙂 Its hard to see but there’s no stamen in there.
Remove the sharp little things at the base of the flower. Its easy just break them off with your fingers. Sorry, don’t know what they’re called.
I placed one strip of mozzarella, and half an anchovy filet. (You can also use fresh mozzarella but make sure you remove excess liquid with a paper towel.)
I found it helpful to coat my stuffed flower using a spoon. In this pic, I’m turning the flower in the batter by it’s stem, using the spoon as a support so the filling doesn’t fall out into the batter. Then, using that same spoon, I lowered the flower into the hot oil.
The oil must be hot, so be careful. 
When frying, if your oil is not hot enough, your food will absorb too much of the oil making it heavy and obviously, too oily.  I like using a medium sized pot rather than a frying pan. There is less splatter. The high sides offer a little protection. 
If using a pot like mine, do not fry more than 3 flowers at a time as to not overcrowd and lower the temperature of the oil. 
Using a slotted spoon, I removed them from the oil when they were golden in colour and put them onto a paper towel to drain.
Yeah, I know…looks amazing, eh? It was! I assure you. Just look at that gooey cheese and the beautiful golden exterior. It was warm, crispy and super tasty!
I hope you get to try these soon!
Enjoy 🙂

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