The other day I opened the door to my office and was greeted by flowers. A typical bouquet it was not. I’ve never been a fan of romantic taboos. They actually freak me out. This gesture was way more understated and thus might have made me swoon a little, even if it was completely unintended. Last week I was raving about the beautiful, ephemeral zucchini blossoms that I was having trouble finding and my friend/coworker promised to bring me some that were just blooming in his garden. Lo and behold, on a day I was late to work, juggling a million things at once, I arrived and the door was open, as I had had a visitor. I was thrilled. I still am.
The life of a flower feels so precious to me. I carried them around like the gossamer threads of a spider web. They are so exquisitely delicate and expire so quickly. Such is the nature of beautiful things. They’re a reminder to me to recognize the joyful, yet aching delight of the moment and to rejoice in the idea that momentary beauty actually exists. It feels like an honor to have them in my kitchen.
These blossoms are best cooked right after picking them. I ushered the flowers carefully through my workday, which ended later than usual (10p). Normal people go to bed after a late night. I had to fry my zucchini flowers. What better to do so than in a nice cold beer batter? I stuffed them with goat cheese–a departure from the usual ricotta– fresh mint and cilantro, zest of lemon and then fried them. These would be just as wonderful if baked (350F for about 15 minutes), but I opted for the the fry option this time. Devouring gleaming hot stuffed flower petals after their bubble bath in bright golden beer– it honestly doesn’t get much more summery than this.
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms – Fills about 12 blossoms
- 1/2 cup goat cheese (or ricotta to be more traditional)
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounce chilled lager-style beer, or seltzer (if you must)
- Zucchini blossoms (stamens removed; about a dozen)
- Sea salt
Combine ricotta, mint, and lemon zest in a bowl. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using a spoon, fill each blossom with about 1 Tbsp. goat cheese mixture. Make sure you’ve removed the stamens.
In a large pot, heat about 2″ oil over medium heat. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl, then whisk in beer until almost smooth (some small lumps are welcome—don’t overwhisk or you’ll deflate the batter). One by one, dredge the blossoms in batter, shaking off the excess; gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt and devour while hot.