A fast and fleeting delight of summer, zucchini flowers require TLC: Meander back from the market in the July heat and they might droop before you get home. Keep them on the kitchen counter while you check
your e-mail and they could lose their vitality by the time you sign off. While these delicate flowers need to be handled carefully (and kept cool in the refrigerator), they are surprisingly sturdy in a pan of hot oil.
Guaranteed to elicit awe in the eyes of your guests, fried zucchini flowers are one of those special snacks that have it all; they’re secretly simple to prepare, impress the guests, and are uniquely delicious.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 3 cups fresh ricotta
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 16 zucchini flowers
- Vegetable oil, for frying (6 cups)
- 1 cup Wondra flour
- ½ bottle Prosecco
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced (8 slices)
- Tomato Water
- Coarse sea salt
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, salt, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and mint. Mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture into a large self-seal plastic bag, squeeze the mixture toward a lower corner of the bag, and then refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Snip a ½-inch hole in the bottom corner of the plastic bag, and pipe the ricotta mixture into each zucchini flower, filling it to the point where the petals begin to separate. Gently twist the petals closed, and set the flower on a baking sheet. When all of the flowers have been filled, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Begin to heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep straight- sided sauté pan over medium heat, monitoring the temperature as it climbs toward 275°F.
- Whisk the Wondra and the Prosecco together to form a thin, pancake-like batter.
- When the oil reaches 275°F, dredge a few flowers through the batter to lightly coat them, allowing the excess to drip off. Immediately place the flowers in the pan and cook for 3 minutes, turning them once, until they are golden brown and appear crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the flowers to a paper-towel-lined tray to drain. Repeat with the remaining flowers, keeping the oil at a steady 275°F.