OK I know, the name of this dish sounds weird! Garlic Scapes? What is that? Zucchini Blossoms? Can we really eat that? The answer is yes and they are so delicious. A true farmers market delicatessen, or in my case a short trip to my organic garden at back!
I first tried zucchini blossoms in a very posh LA restaurant (Courtney Cox was sitting at the bar – a mere 10 steps from our table!!!). Theirs were stuffed with crab and lightly battered with a tempura mix. We dipped them in Ponzu sauce and went to heaven and back with each delicate bite. I was hooked!!!
Here is my own invention of what to do with the blossoms – again, I cook with I have on hand. I was just lucky to have some Garlic Scapes and bacon so I went for it. I wish I had some ricotta – it would have been better, so feel free to add that to your recipe.
- 12- 18 zucchini blossoms
- 1 Small onion chopped
- 4-5 Garlic Scapes
- 6 rashes of Bacon
- 1 zucchini
- Half a bar of cream cheese or a cup of cottage cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 cups of oil for frying
- 1 can of beer
- 1 egg
- Some flour (3 – 4 spoonful)
You can buy the zucchini flowers and Garlic scapes at your local farmers market when in season. If you have zucchini plants on your garden, carefully clip the male flowers from your plant early in the morning. Save them in the fridge for no more than 3 days. The male flowers can be recognized as they only have a stalk attached to them. The female flowers are the ones that bare fruits and they are attached to a small zucchini!
First make your filling:
Chopped your bacon, onion and your Garlic Scapes.
In a pan, fry the bacon, when it starts to brown add the onion and the scapes, fry for about 1 minute.
Add the zucchini grated, the cream or cottage cheese and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Keep cooking for a few minutes until thick enough to hold on its own (when scraped with a spoon it will not return to fill the pan). Let it cool down.
In the meantime, clean the flowers. Wash each flower very gently under a running tap with cold water. You have to be very careful as they are tender. Open each flower with care and with some scissors remove the stem.
Cut the stalk with a knife as close as possible to the flower. Reserve. Heat the oil at medium flame.
Once the filling is cool. Stuff each flower by carefully opening all the petals, placing a small amount of filling in it, not too much so you can close it and twist the edges so they stay together. Put in a place and continue until all the flowers are done.
Make you batter: Open the egg and mix it with half a can of beer. Start adding flower one spoon at a time until you have a light runny batter – it takes about 4 spoonfuls. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Before frying the flowers, make sure the oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter in it. If it fizzles and fries immediately you are good to go. If not, you need to wait until the oil is very hot.
Frying the flowers is very quick, so you need everything ready. Hold each flower from the twisted top and dip in the batter. Remove from batter and let it drip a little.
Immediately put the flower in the oil – it will fry quite fast, turn the flower once and remove from the oil as soon as it start to brown (this takes only a few seconds).
Place the flower on a plate on top of a paper towel to remove the excess oil. Then fry the next flower and so on. You can keep the fried flower inside the oven with a low grill on to keep them hot, but I have found that if you are only doing 12 or so, you will be able to finish the frying before they cool down.
Serve the zucchini blossoms immediately with some fresh cut chives. You can dip them in Ponzu sauce if you like, but this is not a requirement – they are delicious by themselves too!