Stuffing zucchini flowers and frying them to crispy golden deliciousness in tempura batter has been on my recipe bucket list for quite some time. You just don’t see the flowers very often. I would have loved to have the actual zucchini attached to the flowers too, but was so happy to see these, I took what I could get. The recipe for the batter is really easy to make and works brilliantly to crisp up any vegetables. It also happens to be vegan. I had quite a lot left over so dipped parsley leaves and various other cut vegetables to use it up and put myself in a veg tempura coma.
I adapted Jamie Oliver’s recipe adding more chilli flavours but stuck to the batter recipe fairly precisely. It’s just soda water and self-raising flour. The wine version sounded nice, but I like the bubbles in the batter to get things super crunchy.
I used fresh artisan ricotta straight from the farm which at the risk of sounding like a pretentious asshole really does make a difference. A mass-produced ricotta simply does not have the creamy and soft texture. I also like to make my own, when I remember to plan ahead which is often a challenge for me to do. I added a smidge of chimmichurri to the mix as well as a dash of a ready-made chilli paste I have, so use whatever you like. I also added a quarter of a finely chopped jalapeno so got a chilli flavour range. Fresh chillies, dried chilli flakes or other chilli sauces would be wonderful. Just adapt to your own taste and test as you go..
The zucchini blossoms are very delicate but also very sturdy. Make sure you remove any stamen inside if they are there. I used a piping bag to fill them as this made it super easy to do and you can also adjust how much filling you want. Just make sure you have enough petal to easily wrap around it and twist at the top to seal.
Obviously these are not that healthy but are a decadent treat and wonderful to serve with drinks. Especially beer. I had been given a few bottles of Striped Horse Pale Ale so that went down a treat.
Recipe – makes a big batch – about 8 – 10 zucchini flowers (+extra batter to fry other vegetables) – adapted from Jamie Oliver
- 250gm / 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
- small handful mint finley chopped
- small handful parsley finely chopped
- 1 - 2 teaspoons chimichurri sauce / chilli paste / thick chilli sauce - optional
- zest of half a lemon
- juice of a 1/4 of a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
- 1 1/2 cups soda water or sparkling mineral water
- Additional ingredients
- Oil for frying
- Additional parsley leaves and cut vegetables to dip and fry (optional)
- Prepare a tray with layers of paper towel.
- Mix the ricotta with all the other filing ingredients until well combined. Taste along the way adjusting the seasoning as you go.
- Put the mixture into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped, and pipe this into the middle of the blossom. Gently fold the petals over the mixture to cover and twist at the top to seal
- Add the oil to a large pot to about 10cm deep, and heat to 180C / 350F. This is the temperature before smoking hot but one where if you added a piece of bread it would go golden very quickly.
- While the oil is heating, whisk the flour and soda water until you get the consistency of a runny pancake batter. Add more water or flour if necessary.
- When the oil reaches temperature, quickly dip the stuffed zucchini flowers through the batter and lightly shake off any excess. Gently drop this into the oil and fry on both sides until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat in batches and then fry any additional vegetables or parsley if desired.
- Serve immediately while still hot with wedges of fresh lemon and salt.
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