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Bond Girl

Fried Zuchini Flowers

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One of the best thing I had in Rome was the fried zucchini flowers, I'm trying to make a tempura version of this, but so far has failed to get it nice and crispy. I was told that you need 6 inches of oil, a copper pot and cold loose batter, which to me sounds terribly complicated, so does anyone out there have a simpler way of doing this? Or, any tips that may help?


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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It's actually not as difficult as it sounds. I don't think I can give you any huge insights, but just a few tips to keep in mind:

1/Make sure the blossoms are very fresh - if they're limp and a little dated, your results will be lacklustre. Truthfully, I only make this if I have garden fresh blossoms, otherwise you'll never really get a fresh enough product (unless it's summer).

2/Make sure you carefully wash the blossoms, but dry them carefully. You don't want any water on them, but you also don't want to bruise/crush them either.

3/Just make your favorite tempura batter beforehand and refrigerate for at least an hour, so it's nice and cold. You can add some seltzer to lighten if you wish. As mentioned, the batter should be very cold and loose, you just want an ever so delicate coating of the already delicate blossom.

4/I don't think it's necessary to have exactly 6 inches of oil, but it does need to be at the right temp. A few inches of oil should suffice. I usually do 375F. Type of pot for this doesn't really matter.

5/You need to work quickly once you have them battered and in the oil, but other than that, give them a quick drain on a paper towel or brown paper bag, sprinkle with some salt and eat immediately!

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Thanks for the tip, I think my problem is with using wilted blossom and not drying them carefully. Will try your advice tomorrow and report back.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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We make them without using a batter per se; dip them in salted flour, then in beaten egg white with a little milh, then in -- depending on your mood -- more flour or in 1/2 flour, 1/2 corn meal. A little baking soda will make it lighten up, if you wish.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I don't wash them. The ones I've used in LA and Paris have come from sources I know - and treat them like a luxury product - and charge that way too - so there's usually no need. If you don't know the source - and feel like you need to wash them - then I'd suggest removing the pistils - they may have absorbed water. In gastronomic service they're almost always removed - for potentially unpleasant bitter flavour, to stuff them better, and I suspect just to make life that little bit harder for me.

Have you done tempura before? I had a friend at Cordon Bleu whose dad was a tempura chef in Japan - I'm sure the Japan forum can help with the finer points. But essentially no special trick really for blossoms. Ice water - and keeping your batter very cold - gives great results. I'm not sure if carbonated water really makes a difference - again - Japan forum for those answers. And I have to respectfully disagree - I've been told that it's best to use tempura batter immediately.

Have you had good results with just flour and egg wash?

Copper pot? That's funny. No, you don't need a copper pot.

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And I have to respectfully disagree - I've been told that it's best to use tempura batter immediately.

You are indeed very correct. Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote to keep it in fridge! Must have been somewhere else...

Bondgirl, you don't mention if you used ice water. The ice water is important for crispy tempura because it prevents the batter from absorbing too much oil, thus a less soggy end product.

Good tips so far.

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I got a box of 8 male blossoms from the sunday farmers stand on Ave.A today, not ure if they were fresh. I used a mixture of rice flours, regular flours, a pinch of baking soda and a bit of salt to make a my batter. I mixed up the batter with the cold water from my fridge and then stick the whole bowl in the freezer while the oil heat up. The end results is nice and crispy but doesn't look very good. The fried blossoms I had in Rome looks like opened blossoms. I tried separating the base of the flower, but I can't seemed to get the blossoms to look right. Will try again sometimes next week.


Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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I would not wash them, either -- if there's dirt, a small pastry brush works great for dusting them off.

Stuffed blossoms looking like open flowers? Hmm. How did they keep the stuffing in? All the blossoms I've met or made came out looking kind of like little footballs: stuffed in the middle, pointy and closed at the end. Mm-mmm tasty. Happy eating!


Emily Kaiser

www.emilykaiser.com

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Savour Chef - no problem - just about every OTHER kind of batter is better after resting in the fridge - crepes, American pancakes, etc.

Bond Girl - how much were those 8 blossoms? And you can tell they're fresh just like any other kind of flower - nice-looking petals. The ones in Rome are NOT using a tempura batter - and the blossoms are just going to be different. Hey - but at least they're crispy - and tasty? And again - for tempura in general - ICE water - not just cold water.

Emily - they're usually not stuffed on the street - just fried.

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A subject very close to my heart! My son and I have been on a mission to perfect fried zucchini blossoms. We have done extensive research in Italy, as they are not so expensive there as they are in the States. Now, that is a bit of good luck!

I don't like much in the way of coating, so our technique is:

wash them gently, shake off excess water, but leave damp (heresy to the others posting)

In a plastic bag, combine flour and a bit of salt (to taste)

Inflate the bag, drop in the blossoms and shake very gently to coat.

Heat frying pan (I used cast iron) with very hot peanut oil. Enough to cover one layer of blossoms.

When the oil is hot, add the blossoms, don't crowd the pan. Turn once. But....keep in the oil for a bit longer than you might think is necessary.

When you take the blossom out of the oil, be sure to invert it and drain the oil out. Lay on a warm platter, with some paper towelling to absorb any extra oil. Add a small pinch of salt before serving.

Beat off all people who enter the kitchen to take a look and 'snitch'.

I've found the technique maintains the lovely orange color of the blossom and the flavor, while delivering the divine crunch.

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For awhile I was able to get the flowers 2 for a quarter, and we ate them a lot. I don't wash them, either, but dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs and pan fry in olive oil.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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A nice alternative I use for courgette flowers is to make a batter from chickpea flour or gram flour (channa dal). Add a touch of chilli powder. This is a slightly heavier batter, but tastes great (if you've ever eaten pakoras you'll know what it's like). And of course oil temperature is the critical factor in deep frying.


Edited by Dan Ryan (log)

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Not sure if this post belongs here but I thought you folks might know and I did not think it was worth starting a thread over it. I am planning on planting one or two zucchini/squash plants in the garden mainly for the blossoms. The question is, what type do I need to plant? Will any summer squash do?

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I would not wash them, either -- if there's dirt, a small pastry brush works great for dusting them off.

Stuffed blossoms looking like open flowers? Hmm. How did they keep the stuffing in? All the blossoms I've met or made came out looking kind of like little footballs: stuffed in the middle, pointy and closed at the end. Mm-mmm tasty. Happy eating!

Hi Emily - can I ask you what you stuffed them with?

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