Ricotta Filled & Fried Zucchini Flowers

24 Jul

I recently mentioned to a friend that I had a “fear of frying”. She quizzed me by asking, “Is that a thing?!” Uh, yeah, it is totally a thing! Surely, I can’t be the only person who when reading a recipe and sees that frying food is a step, completely dismisses that recipe? There is no way that I’m alone in my fear of getting seriously burned by scolding hot oil!

The only time I have fried food with oil was in Thailand when I was making spring rolls, and honestly, I was surprised when I came out of that experience unscathed (the health and safety requirements were, shall we say, “relaxed”…). Whilst recently watching a Jamie Oliver cooking show on zucchini and seeing him stuff and fry zucchini flowers, I automatically dismissed making them due to the hot, potentially dangerous oil (insert villain music here).

But whilst at the Kitsilano Farmers Market on the weekend, I temporarily forgot that frying was part of the recipe. This resulted in me greedily gathering delicate zucchini flowers with the intent of copying Jamie’s recipe. It was only back at home that reality hit…shit, I’m going to have to face the fear of the oil (I told ya it was a real thing).

Inspired by memories of feasting on stuffed zucchini flowers whilst in Italy (and the fact that this recipe looked kick-ass), I set out making the filling and gently piping it into the flowers (this was quite difficult so I don’t think this is a recipe for a beginner). The filling is a tasty ricotta, mint, lemon zest, chili and parmesan mix. I had to add pancetta bits, of course. That’s just my style.

Once the piping and battering was completed, a costume change was in order – long pants, long sleeves, and sneakers, before heating the oil. With my heart pumping, I dropped them into the oil and waited for them to turn golden brown, before carefully lifting them out of the oil. Dramatic much? Yes, indeed. Being scolded with hot oil absolutely terrifies me but now that I’ve done it once, I will likely be making them again (complete with hazmat suit style clothing).

My favourite part was actually the fried, young zucchini that was still attached to the flower. Once fried it was warm, yet still sweet, and absolutely delicious. I also took Jamie’s recommendation and battered and fried the left-over ricotta mixture into balls – so good!

Oddly, Jamie doesn’t seem to have this recipe on his website but I found a link to it at the Food Network. Otherwise, you will find the full recipe in the “Jamie At Home” cookbook, which I highly recommend.

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