STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce
I grow plentiful zucchini in my garden to ensure that there will be enough blossoms to satisfy my craving for them. This is one of my favorite ways of preparing them, learned as a girl by watching my aunt make them after our forays to the open-air markets near her apartment in Rome. Select flowers that are about 3 inches from the base of the blossom to their tips.
• pure Olive Oil, for frying
• 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose Flour
• 12 tablespoons sparkling Mineral Water or Seltzer Water
• 16 large Zucchini Blossoms with about 2 inches of stem left intact
• 1/4 pound fresh Mozzarella, genuine Caciocavallo, or genuine Asiago Fresco, cut into 16 dice
• Sea Salt
1. Fill a deep skillet or frying pan with enough oil to reach about 1½ inches up the sides. Warm the oil over medium heat until it is sizzling hot.
2. Meanwhile, put the flour into a mixing bowl large enough for a blossom to fit. Pour in the sparkling water and mix with a whisk until the mixture is blended and smooth. It should have the consistency of beaten egg and easily coat a spoon. If the mixture is too thick, thin with a little more of the water.
3. Wash the blossoms rapidly under cold running water and dry them gently on paper towels; check inside the flowers for insects; remove the stamens. Slip a piece of cheese into each, then fold the flower closed, pressing gently to make the petals adhere to each other.
4. Just before you are ready to cook them, dip each of the blossoms into the batter, using the stem as a handle for slipping them into the pan. Put only as many blossoms into the oil as can fit without crowding. Fry until golden, about 5 minutes in all, turning them over midway during cooking. Use a skimmer to retrieve them when they are done. Transfer to paper towels, taking care to avoid crushing them. Sprinkle with salt immediately to ensure it will stick and keep the blossoms crisp. Serve at once.