All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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Sorry, folks! I haven’t posted in a week because 1) my boyfriend Miles was in town and 2) my computer hard drive COMPLETELY crashed. I knew it was coming so everything is backed up but I had to spend a few days researching my options & then buying a computer. I bought on at Fry’s in Burbank. NEVER BUY AT FRY’S. The computer I bought was defective out of the box (it wouldn’t recognize the wireless mouse or keyboard) and after 45 minutes of USELESS tech support – I hung up on the guy & decided to return the computer. Two options at this point: a) admit it is a defective computer & be turned away by Fry’s & referred to the manufacturer (whom I already contacted to no avail) or pretend I just changed my mind and eat a $225 restocking charge or buy another computer there that day. It is a long story, but they totally shell gamed me into a cheaper computer but lied about what I was paying for exactly & TRICKED me into paying $279 for a three year warranty that they said they were giving me for free. Grrr….
The new computer works – whew! But – the bad news? Windows 8!!! I fucking hate it! It makes me feel like I just woke up after a ten year nap & technology has left me completely behind. Why do they fix things that aren’t broken? Filing & viewing photos is even a huge pain in the ass & WTF does Microsoft have against thumbnails? Ugh.
Anyway – the photos in this post are markedly sub-par & I apologize. That was due to many of my usual thwarting realities but mainly that these are a rare item to find in a produce aisle & they are fragile & have a short shelf life – but uncooked & cooked. Once I’d fried them – I wanted to EAT them. I didn’t want to shoot them for 10 minutes & then eat cold & soggy fried zucchini flowers – so I popped off a few images & shoved them in my face. My boy Miles surprised me by not only trying them but he gave them a thumbs up! He even went back for more – and no cattle prod was required.
So – if you ever see these at a farmer’s market – definitely buy some! I got them at the incredible Super King for $1.49 a bunch (with about 6-8 flowers per bunch). Expect to pay more than that elsewhere. Super King is a wonderland of produce priced well below market value. If my recipe doesn’t appeal to you – Google others but definitely try these delicate & delicately flavored little, seasonal gems. I even found sour grapes for sale. The sign made me smile because it seems like they are selling pissy moods for .99 cents per pound. But no. They are selling actual sour grapes.
I wish you could make money selling pissy moods because I have loads to spare & I could earn a fortune.
Also available at Super King is this amazing garlic paste.
It has the texture of hummus & reeks of garlic & is insanely delicious. I bought some to see if it was like the crack they hand out at Zankou Chicken. In 1984, I moved to Los Angeles – into an apartment on Normandie south of Sunset. In 1984, Zankou opened its first American restaurant at Sunset & Normandie. I ate meat back then. I ate Zankou. I used that garlic paste mercilessly! My boyfriend moved in a year or so later & became obsessed – insisting on it nearly every night. I had, by then, resumed my obsession with another local restaurant (Torung Thai Restaurant) and their house noodle dish, #7 (now #36). So – we each got take-out of our respective addictions & ate together but differently. At any rate – this Super King garlic sauce seems to me to be exactly like the stuff from Zankou. Make a note.
I used a bit of this garlic paste in my filling & will note that here but you needn’t use it for your fried blossoms to be infinitely edible!
Beer-Batter Fried,Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
These portions are off a bit in that I made enough filling for about 25 blossoms but only filled maybe a dozen for frying.
As many zucchini blossoms as you care to fill. 12? 20?
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup beer
lots of oil (vegetable?) for frying (I had my pan about 1 inch deep)
1/8 cup water
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup ricotta
2 TBS chopped parsley
1-2 chopped scallions
2 TBS garlic sauce (see story above) – OPTIONAL
1 zip lock baggy to create a pastry bag
Carefully, snip out the pistol with scissors or by pinching with your fingers. The pistol is the nubby thing growing out of the center of the flowers. Leave any long stems as they are.
CAREFULLY rinse the blossoms & set them out to dry. Torn flowers can still be used. Do not despair!
Whisk the cornstarch, flour, salt & beer together.
Blend the cream cheese, ricotta, parsley, scallions, garlic sauce (if using) and 1/8 cup water.
Cut a small corner off of a zip lock baggy. Put the cheese blend in it.
Squeeze a small quantity of cheese into the flowers. Do not overfill. Gently press the loose leaves into the filling to create a loose seal.
Heat the oil until it is hot but not boiling. Reduce heat to medium-high or so.
Drag each blossom through the batter & fry them in batches. Do not overfill your pan or they will all stick together.
Turn & fry until they are golden all over. Drain on paper towels & serve as soon as possible!