Friday, March 7, 2014

Zucchini flowers deep fried in tempura batter

Its zucchini season, when zucchinis must be picked daily before they become unpalatable marrows.
Zucchini is Italian for little marrows giving a strong indication of how they should be eaten: small and fresh. You can't get smaller and fresher then eating the tiny zucchinis before the flower falls off.

Zucchini plants produce both male and female flowers. The male are essential for pollination but do not produce fruit. That comes from the female flowers.  They are easy to tell apart. The male flowers grow on the end of an ordinary stem

whilst the female flowers gradually move away from the bush on the end of a dark green zucchini.

To cook zucchini flowers you will need tempura batter and ricotta. Tempura is easy to make from scratch so you don't need to buy the packet mix.  And you will need a deep fryer with vegetable oil.

Tempura batter mix
1 egg
3/4 cup plain flour
pinch bi-carb/baking soda
1 cup icy cold water

Beat egg and water together. Add flour and bi-carb/baking soda.  Mix quickly.  This makes a thin, runny batter.

Prepare the zucchini flowers by gently reaching into the centre of the flower and pinching out the stamens. If you forget and leave them in they won't hurt you, but they don't taste good!  Handle the flowers gently as they tear easily.  Place a teaspoon of ricotta in the centre of the flower and close the flower over it.

Dip the whole zucchini into the batter until completely covered.  Place on a plate and chill in the fridge for an hour before cooking.  This helps the batter to stick.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer.  Place the zucchinis in the basket when the oil is hot and fry until crispy and golden.

Serve with a salad and tangy dressing.


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