Friday, June 7, 2013

Zucchini Blossoms 101

Only a few years ago you would rarely come across zucchini blossoms outside of a restaurant (all types of squash have edible blossoms, but the most common are zucchinis’). These days you can find them at many farmers’ markets. Bright yellow to almost orange, zucchini flowers are nearly irresistible to farmers’ market shoppers. Yet it seems many people don't know what to do with them once they've bought them. Luckily all you have to do is to realize that those beautiful flowers are versatile and easy.  You don’t even have to cook them! For your convenience, here is a crash course in Zucchini Blossoms 101:
Choose flowers that look fresh and dewy, preferably still closed. Keep refrigerated, tightly sealed, and try to use the same day. They will, however, keep for several days.

The most common way to cook them  is to fry, stuffed or not,  in a very light, almost tempura-like batter. But if you are not into frying they are delicious eaten raw and a welcome addition to salads, pilafs, soups and even to garnish desserts. They add a subtle sweetness and a slightly herbal flavor. Don’t trim their slim stem, because it adds a nice crunch. They match particularly well with the season’s leafy greens, such as baby kale and arugula.
This is how you fry them: whisk enough ice water into flour that it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Dip the flowers in the batter, shake gently to get rid of any excess batter, and fry them in hot oil until they're crunchy--just two or three minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately with drink or on the aforementioned greens.
Bon Appetit!

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