Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fiori di zucca

These were definitely worth the wait. A pretty long wait too... about twenty years.
When I was 18 I worked as an au pair in a town south of Rome. I met a very sweet lady there who showed me how to make fried courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. They are pretty much the most delectable thing I have ever eaten but I have never come across them since.

Anyway this summer with a garden to tinker in for the first time in my adult life I decided to put in a vegetable patch and was pretty chuffed when I spotted a packet of seeds for Italian flowering zucchini at the garden centre.
I planted twelve seeds but only one plant survived. The slugs were the number one culprit but the heavy rain and flooding didn't help much either.
This was our garden in July.
My mum and little P scattering egg shells to keep the slugs away - it didn't work.
Then miraculously last week the courgette plant actually flowered.
I racked my memory for the recipe and managed to fry up some pretty decent fiori di zucca fritti alla romana. Here's what I did in case you too are willing to wait two decades until you find some.
First wash and dry the flowers very thouroughly and carefully. That's the boring fiddly bit done. Next make the batter by beating plain flour and beer together with a hand whisk until it is smooth and the consistency of double cream. Peroni or Nastro Azzurro are ideal but I used Carlsberg because there was a bottle in the fridge and it worked fine. 

Cut a ball of bufala mozzarella into sticks a couple of inches long and chop your anchovies in two then stuff each flower. Coat your flowers in batter and fry in shallow hot oil, a few seconds on each side. Once slightly golden and crisp place on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle on some salt, crack open a bottle of chilled white wine and you are good to go. 

Eat them hot and enjoy.

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