These zucchini flowers are a delicious treat but do need to be eaten as soon as they are cooked. The flowers are fragile and have a short shelf life. Store in the fridge in a plastic box between paper towels.
12 zucchini flowers with tiny zucchini attached if possible
½ cup plain flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ cups water, chilled
1 egg white
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small zucchini, finely diced
2 slices salami, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped basil
70 grams soft feta cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
finely grated zest 1 lemon
grating of nutmeg
vegetable oil for cooking
extra Parmesan cheese
Stuffing: Put the olive oil, onion and garlic in a sauté pan with a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook until the onion is very tender. Add the zucchini and salami and cook uncovered until the zucchini is soft. Stir in the basil and cool.
Put the feta in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the Parmesan, lemon zest and nutmeg and season. Add the cooled onion mixture and combine well.
Gently open the petals of the zucchini flowers and check for insects. Snap off the pistil or stamen and discard. Do not wash the flowers or they will collapse.
Put a spoonful of stuffing in each flower, leaving room for expansion when it cooks. Smooth the petals over the stuffing and gently twirl the tops of the flowers together then twist them to fully enclose the stuffing. If the stuffing leaks out the hot oil will spit furiously.
Batter: Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and gradually whisk in the water to make a thin, smooth batter. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks and fold into the batter.
To cook: Heat about 6 cm of oil in a wok or deep saucepan to 180˚C on a deep frying thermometer or until a piece of bread turns golden in 30 seconds.
Dip the flowers one at a time in the batter, then using your fingers, gently scrape off enough batter to leave only a very thin coating. Gently place in the oil and cook for about 2 minutes, turning until golden and crisp on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and sea salt. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as an entrée or 6 as a snack
Cook’s tip: Only cook 2-3 zucchini at a time to ensure even browning and make sure the oil is at the right temperature before cooking the next batch.