Fried Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
In Italy, zucchini blossoms are often stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies and fried in a crisp coating. Here, herbed ricotta is tucked into the blossoms with delicious results. If the ricotta is very moist, spoon it into a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, and place in the refrigerator to drain overnight. Fresh squash blossoms are highly perishable, so use them as soon as possible.
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 large zucchini blossoms
- Olive oil or canola oil for frying
In a bowl, stir together the cheese, the 1 1/2 tsp. parsley and the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. In a small, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Spread the flour on a plate.
Gently wipe the zucchini blossoms with damp paper towels and carefully remove the stamens. Gently spread each flower open, insert the tip of the pastry bag and pipe about 1 Tbs. of the ricotta mixture into the blossom. Do not overfill the blossoms or the filling may seep out as they cook. Roll each blossom in the flour, then in the eggs and again in the flour, gently shaking off the excess each time.
Preheat an oven to 200°F. Line a platter with paper towels.
In a heavy fry pan, pour in oil to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer.
Add the zucchini blossoms, a few at a time, to the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry the blossoms, turning once, until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the blossoms to the paper towel-lined platter to drain and place in the oven to keep warm. Allow the oil to return to 375°F between batches. Garnish with parsley and serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Vegetable of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).