Fiori di zucca ripieni di mozzarella e alici from Lazio
Another Roman dish! This dish was immortalised in fact by Julia Robert’s in the film adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love. When she sits at that table in Rome, outdoors on the street, and cuts into the crispy shell of the flower so that the rich, milky oil oozes out… Makes me hungry every time, and leads invariably to a dash to the market to get fresh zucchini flowers.
This dish can be served as a starter, as canapes for an aperitivo with friends, or as a devilishly calorific snack. The only requirement is that you consume them immediately, or they go soft and sad and lose all of that crunchy appeal.
You will need (makes 12 pieces)
12 fresh, fairly large zucchini flowers. Make sure they are not wilted.
2 large eggs
4 spoonfuls of plain flour
two cups of oil
250g of mozzarella or fior di latte♥
12 salted anchovies
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Crop the stems off the zucchini flowers and put to one side
2. Finely chop the mozzarella and the anchovies into a bowl, and mix
3. Beat the eggs together with a heaped spoonful of flour and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Spoon the remaining flour onto a baking tray or similar.
4. Fill the zucchini flowers with the mozzarella and anchovy mix, then holding the ends together dip in the egg mixture then roll in the flour. Once you have done this gently twist the ends together to stop the contents falling out – the egg and flour will hold them together.
5. Heat the oil in a pan until it is EXTREMELY hot. Be very careful when doing this.
6. Gently add the zucchini flowers and fry, turning every now and again with tongs, until they are golden brown.
7. Remove the flowers from the oil and pat the excess oil away with absorbent kitchen roll.
I basically don’t ever fry things. Just zucchini flowers, because as the Italians would say, quella ricetta è la morte sua, or “That recipe is the best way for (that ingredient) to die”.
With love, from Italy