Fried Zucchini Flowers and Zucchini Slices - Fiorii di Zucca Fritti
My Grandmother Rosalie brought zucchini seeds with her when she came to the United States from Tuscany. She made fried zucchini flowers from the zucchini that she grew in her garden. Zucchini has a place in my garden every year for the precious zucchini flowers. The fried flowers are an annual treat at my house. They should be picked on the morning that the blossoms open. The zucchini blossoms are very fragile, so place the stems in a glass of water, and store in the refrigerator, if you are not going to use them right away. They will keep a day or so that way. They can be hard to find in the stores, you may be able to find them at your local farmers market. If you do not have zucchini flowers, the zucchini slices prepared in this manner are also very delicious.
4 or 5 Zucchini flowers
2 small zucchini (about 6 to 8 inches long) peeled and sliced. The slices should be about ¼ to 1/3 inch thick
1 to 2 tsp. sparkling water
1 cup flour
salt and white pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of a large sauté pan or skillet to a depth of ¼ inch.)
Rinse off the zucchini flowers very gently, they can be damaged easily. Remove the pistil (the thick center stem) from the inside of the flowers.
Beat the egg with the sparkling water in a bowl large enough to dip the zucchini flowers, and the zucchini into the egg mixture. In a separate bowl also large enough to hold the flowers and zucchini mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or a skillet over medium heat.
Place the zucchini flowers and the slices into the seasoned flour and shake off the excess flour. Then dip the flowers and slices into the egg mixture, remove and let the excess egg mixture drip off. They should have just a light coating. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a piece of zucchini is dropped into it, place the zucchini slices and the zucchini flowers in the sauté pan. Do not crowd, you may have to sauté in two batches. Turn over with a set of tongs or a fork when the bottom turns a nice golden brown. Lift out of the oil when both sides are a beautiful golden brown. Drain and pat dry in paper towels. Place in an oven proof serving dish and keep in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven until ready to serve. Serve as quickly as possible or keep very hot in the oven.