10 Jun
2010

FIORI DI ZUCCA IN PASTELLA

Fried Squash Blossoms with Mozzarella and Anchovies

From The Williams-Sonoma Food of the World series, “Rome”,

recipes and text by Maureen B. Fant

12 zucchini flowers (fiori di zucca)
1/4 lb fresh cow’s milk mozzarella or mozzarella di bufala, cut into 12 pieces
4 olive oil–packed anchovy fillets, each cut into 3 pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed1 1/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Olive oil, preferably extra-virgin, for deep-frying

Makes 4 servings

Cut off the stem of each flower, remove the sharp, protruding points of the calyx at its base, and then remove the pistils from inside, trying not to tear the flower. Rinse the flowers and dry gently with a dish towel or paper towels.

place 1 piece of anchovy and 1 piece of cheese in the cavity of each flower. If any flower is torn, just wrap its petals around the filling. (When fried, the batter will help hold the package together.) Gently lay the stuffed flowers in a single layer on a plate.

Sift 2 cups flour into a bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups water and mix with a fork until a thick batter forms. To test, insert your finger into the batter; it should coat your finger without dripping. Adjust the consistency by adding more flour or more water. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and the vinegar.

Sift the remaining 1 cup flour into shallow bowl.

pour olive oil to a depth of 2 inches into a deep frying pan and heat to 325°F on a deep-frying thermometer, or until a drop of batter dropped into the hot oil sizzles immediately on contact. Holding 1 stuffed flower by its base, dip it first into dry flour then into the batter, coating generously. Lay the flower gently in the oil. Repeat, adding 2 or 3 more flowers and being careful not to crowd the pan. Deep-fry until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, paying more attention to the color than to the clock. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the flowers to paper towels to drain. Keep warm on an electric hot tray or in a very low oven, uncovered. Repeat with the remaining stuffed flowers.

Sprinkle the fried flowers lightly with salt and then arrange on a warmed platter or individual plates. Serve at once.

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