What foods evoke Summer nostalgia for you? Growing up, a sure sign of summer was Nonna’s fresh plate of Fiori di Zucca Fritti – Fried Zucchini Flowers (aka Squash Blossoms). She had the most beautifully tended vegetable garden and picking fresh harvest with her is a memory I’ll never forget (although I now know zucchini are, botanically speaking, a fruit…allora!). Like most Italian fare, there is no family recipe to refer to for this crispy, golden nibbler – “quanto basta” (as much as you like, as much as you need) is the method. But I’ve tried my best to share a food-torial you can follow to give this delish appetizer a try. A fresh plate of Fiori di Zucca Fritti paired with a crisp, chilled Prosecco is a summer experience you may never know you needed ;).
About the Ingredients & Preparing the Zucchini Flowers – Fiori di Zucca Fritti
- Fried zucchini flowers should be made very shortly after picking. If you grow your own, harvest when the flowers are fully open & leave some of the stem attached to place the stems-only in a glass of water while you prep the batter. There are male & female zucchini flowers. You’ll want to pick the male only and here’s the food science of WHY [Source: Science of Cooking]. We grabbed ours up freshly picked from a Farmer’s Market first thing in the morning. Weather permitting, Zucchini flowers should be blooming by late June – early July.
- Inspect for insects (especially bees!) and gently wipe off any dirt/debris. The flowers should never be submerged in water – it will make them close tight & shrivel. While you can eat the whole flower if you wish, I remove the small green leaves at the base of the bloom’s exterior & the pollinated “pistils/stamen” from ours prior to frying.
- The “batter” is a simple combination of all-purpose flour (or multipurpose “00” Italian flour), cold sparkling water (acqua frizzante), sea salt & vegetable oil (sunflower or canola) and the consistency should be creamy-thin. Depending on the number of blossoms you’re frying, start with 1 cup of flour and adding the sparkling water a bit at a time to play with the texture. Some Italians add egg to the batter which will give it more fluff, but we usually make ours without, favoring a crispier finish.
- There are many variations to making Fiori di Zucca Fritti, including adding ricotta or mozzarella, anchovies and more.
I’ll re-iterate, there is no golden standard recipe for Fiori di Zucca Fritti – the beauty is in combining simple, quality ingredients. Enjoy the process! I can guarantee it will be hard to have “just one” know matter how they turn out. But for the sake of having a food-torial for you to follow, I’ll share the process I followed last Summer below. Confession – the batch shown above was not my best – too much batter! But guess what? Still so good!
Fiori di Zucca Fritti | Fried Squash Blossoms | La Cucina di Kerrs
- 1 doz. Fresh Zucchini Squash Blossoms *pick on same day you'll be eating them*
- 1 bottle Sparkling Natural Mineral Water ("Aqua Frizzante") *chilled; We use San Pellegrino or San Benedetto*
- 1-2 cups All purpose white flour * 00 imported from Italy is best, but not essential*
- Fine/flake sea salt *to taste*
- Sunflower or Canola Oil *enough to fill your frying pan with at least a 1/2 inch of oil*
- In a mixing bowl (medium), pour in the cold sparkling water, starting with about 3/4 cup. Start adding in your flour (about 1/4 cup at a time), gently whisking at the same time while trying not to get rid of all the bubbles. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt. The consistency of the batter should be creamy-thin.
- Heat oil on medium heat in a pan. One blossom at a time, dip into your batter to lightly coat evenly & add to your pan/skillet for frying. I cooked half the batch (6) at a time. Turn the zucchini flowers during the cooking process until lightly golden on each side (*this will be quick so watch carefully*). Set up a platter layered with paper towel beside your cooking area and lay your fried flowers on it to absorb excess oil. Repeat above process for remaining blossoms.
- Serve your Fiori di Zucca while still warm with your favourite chilled beverage. *Optional: add a pinch more salt over top* Buon appetito & tag us @House_of_Kerrs #LaCucinadiKerrs if you try!
Fiori di Zucca Fritti definitely make the “best of” Italian Summer recipes hit list and a plate of them a beautiful, delicious addition to your al fresco dining or aperitivo.
Another Squash Blossom Recipe to Try
If you have leftover batter & squash blossoms, you can make Zucchini Fritters. Simply, shred some zucchini & chop up the flowers, then add an egg, freshly-grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese & chopped fresh or dried basil. Just throw it all into the batter, pour into medallion shapes in your heated pan of oil & cook + flip until both sides are golden and batter is cooked inside. Also super-delish!
More Zucchini Recipes Your Family Will Love
We hope you enjoyed learning how to make the classic Italian Fiori di Zucca Fritti just like Nonna & learned a bit of food education as well 🙂 We love seeing you cook it up in your Cucinas with your family, so please share with a comment or tag @House_of_Kerrs if you try!