Just getting back from a wonderful vacation in Italy, I long for a tasty antipasto treat we enjoyed while there: fried squash blossoms. I can find lots of recipes on line, but my question is: Can I use pumpkin blossoms instead of zucchini blossoms? I have a large pumpkin patch with huge blossoms, but no zucchini in the garden. Since pumpkin is actually a type of squash, it would seem that that using pumpkin blossoms would be fine, especially for stuffing with ricotta cheese, etc.
Anyone have experience or an opinion about this? Thanks.
For three days, I couldn't find any freshly-opened pumpkin blossoms. The past few days, I've had to leave the house at dawn. I'll try this weekend. I've got the ricotta cheese and the basil... cross your fingers!
Whoops! Forgot all about posting the results of my endeavors! In short, they were a complete success, and delicious. The only thing missing was eating them in Italy! I'll now post a series of photos showing the process.
This first one is of the freshly picked pumpkin blossoms. The male ones are larger, quite wonderful for frying and hold a good amount of whatever stuffing you decide to use.
In this photo, they have been coated with a mixture of carbonated water (seltzer), flour, salt & pepper. I used grapeseed oil, but you could use just plain vegetable oil, or canola oil to fry them.
(In Italy, I imagine they used olive oil to fry them, but I didn't have a real high grade of olive oil on hand. I'll have to try that next summer.)
I also had stuffed them with ricotta cheese, with just a little fresh basil mixed in. The flowers are remarkably firm to work with. In Italy, we had them with the stems attached, which were good too. I took the stems off since they weren't as delicate as zuchinni, but I do think they would have been fine.
Here's what they look like after flipping over once the first side has browned. It takes just a few minutes. The oil is cooking on medium-high.
After just a few more minutes, I lift them out gently and let them drain on a couple sheets of paper towels.
I served them ASAP. Deliciouso!
I had enough blossoms over a few weeks to make a few more batches. You should use just a large tablespoon of filling so that it heats through while frying. There are many types of filling using meat and/or cheese. Experimenting is fun.
In Italian, if I remember correctly, it's called "fritta de fiori" literally "fried flowers".
I read a book a couple of years ago by Marlena de Blasi titled "A Thousand Days in Tuscany" where she describes how the locals in the village where she lived fry them - no filling and they are sort of crispy. Haven't tried them yet, but want to make them both in her style and yours!
Yes, in Italy, we had them both ways, filled and not-filled. Both fried, of course. The non-filled ones were definitely more crispy throughout. I think they were seasoned though, with some type of seasoned salt or herbs. Either way, they were delicious. If we ever get to Italy again (and my wife would go back tomorrow!), I will be bold and ask the technique.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh... lovely! I know I was Italian in a past life...;-)
I visited Italy in 78 as part of a tour with a group from SC (I lived in SC at the time) and of course, we visited Florence and toured a bit around Tuscany - not enough, but just to give me a sense of the place...Later I returned for a 10 day cooking class session with Giuliano Bugialli in Florence and we also got to spend a few days/nights in a winery villa in Rada in the Chianti area... I loved it!
That's our plan for a return trip. Staying in Tuscany or Umbria for a few weeks and either doing wine tours or baking classes. Until one visits Italy, it's hard to understand its allure. The food, the people, the language...