Monday, July 20, 2009

Fried Zucchini Blossoms (and Other Local Delights)

fried blossoms and blackberry spinach salad

My zucchini plants have been happily flowering for about a week now, and I have been eyeing those flowers and thinking about deep frying them. Of course, I'd never actually done this before, only seen it on Top Chef, so I was a little wary. I'd like to say I was concerned about the fat content, or the effect picking the flowers would have on my plants, but truthfully, I was actually just worried that they would taste weird. I mean, how often does one eat deep fried flowers? Uh, never. I'd never eaten deep fried flowers before.

However, with the Man of Science away on business this week, I am left to my own devices. There are only so many dowloaded episodes of L.A. Ink that one girl can watch, so early last evening I got bored enough to experiment with the zucchini flowers.

As I am a gardening novice, it hadn't occurred to me that zucchini flowers have genders. The lady flowers have a zucchini attached to them and the man flowers don't have a zucchini attached to them. I just picked the man flowers. No point in wasting a perfectly good zucchini. I took my three flowers into the kitchen and put them in a bowl of water to get the dirt off them. Also, there was an ant inside one of them, so if you're going to do this check your flowers for bugs first.

clean 'em up

I put about 1/2 inch of sunflower oil in my cast iron pan and put it on a burner set to med-high. Then, I mixed up the following:

1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
a few shakes of salt and pepper

and dunked the blossoms into the mixture. When the oil was hot, i tossed all three blossoms into the pan and let them sizzle away for a couple minutes. When the batter was starting to look crispy at the edges, I flipped them over and let them fry for another couple minutes. Then I let them sit and drain on a paper towel for a few minutes.

fried zucchini blossoms

They were a great side-dish treat with my spinach and blackberry salad. And guess what? They don't taste weird at all! They don't actually have much of their own taste, but their texture is great when they're all fried up like that. I'm glad I don't have more zucchini plants because I just would have kept on frying and eating the flowers.

And, as a bonus side dish, some local Ontario peas! Boiled for mere seconds (like, just under a minute) until bright green and then graced with a bit of Earth Balance margarine and some freshly ground pepper and salt. So good.

yum

Some Notes:

-I get asked now and again about how to photograph food. It is quite a challenge, what with food often looking really unappetizing in photos. The Pioneer Woman posted some great tips today, so go here if you want some extra help with your food photos. I agree with everything she said and would add two things of my own: 1) taking photos from directly above your food allows people to see everything much better and makes for artier shots, and 2) wait until the food has stopped steaming before you try to photograph it. Occasionally, I photograph the next-day leftover portion of a dish because I've been stubborn about wanting to eat it when it was still hot the night before.

-If you are a Rogers cable type person and happen to be home in the middle of the day on Wednesday, you can see me do my first live cooking demo ever (eek!) on Rogers Daytime. I have to practice the whole thing tonight for an audience of pets. It seems like they (the show producers, not the pets) put most of the segments up on line, so I'll provide a link when I can for those of you without cable and/or with day jobs.

-Are any other vegetarians and/or food bloggers heading to the BlogHer Conference in Chicago this coming weekend? I will be there, and I'd love to chat and/or eat (Chicago Diner anyone?) with some new blog friends.

J.

5 comments:

Cyn said...

I love zucchini flowers, but I've always been scared of frying them. Those look delicious!

eileen said...

man, I saw zucchini blossoms at the farmer's market the other day, but they were $5 a box and I just couldn't do it.

also: lucky, chicago-diner-bound person! I've only been once, but it was great. there's also a huge thrift warehousey store a few blocks north on halsted, I think at addison? I just ran into it randomly walking from the train.

The Voracious Vegan said...

Your fried man flowers look absolutely delicious! I will pretty much eat anything if it is fried, I can't imagine anything better than the crispy, light greasiness that frying creates. YUMMMM....

You are so lucky to be able to grown your own food....all the frying potential there, wow.

Stella said...

YOU WERE AMAZING ON TV!!!

That is all.

Michelle said...

Thanks for posting this. We have 2 zucchini plants madly producing flowers and fruit! I just heard that the flowers are edible and it's nice to read another first timer's story.