Fiori di Zucca Fritti

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These classic Italian fried zucchini flowers, stuffed with creamy ricotta and fresh herbs, evoke the streets of Rome. Dive into this irresistible recipe that captures the essence of Roman cuisine.
Side Dish

I’m sure most of you are familiar with cooking and eating zucchini and other summer squashes by now. But, have you ever tried squash blossoms? These delicate flowers are usually available in early summer and are well worth becoming acquainted with!

One of the most classic ways to prepare them is to stuff them with an herb and cheese mixture, then fry them in a light, airy batter until golden and crispy. They make a dazzling addition to any antipasto platter.

What are squash blossoms?

Squash blossoms are edible flowers that grow on squash plants. They have a mild squash flavor and a delicate texture. They’re typically available from mid to late summer.

Squash plants produce both male and female flowers. The male flowers have long, thin stems and no fruit attached to them. The female flowers have small bulbs or baby squash at the base of the petals. You can use either type for this recipe, though the male flowers tend to be easier to stuff. The male flowers also tend to come with a bit of the stem still attached, which when fried is reminiscent of a tempura green bean.

How to store fresh squash blossoms

The blossoms should be used as soon as possible after picking, preferably the same day. If you need to store them, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to a few days. The best way to store them is to lay them flat on a paper towel or a tissue on a dish or a flat container. You can also cover them with a slightly damp paper towel or put them in a mesh bag in the crisper drawer. The goal is to keep them moist but not wet, and allow some air circulation to prevent spoilage.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Honestly, these don’t make the best leftovers. The key to this dish is that crispy, airy batter, which tends to get soggy in the fridge. But, if you do find yourself with some leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 2 days, then either reheat in the oven or pop them back in some hot oil for just a minute to recrisp them. Keep a close eye on them, though, as they can burn quickly. I wouldn’t recommend trying to microwave them as this will ensure they get soggy.

Fiori di Zucca Fritti

Fiori di Zucca Fritti

Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
10 min
Total Time:
25 min
Equipment Needed
  • A frying thermometer

For the Filling:

  • 10 squash blossoms
  • 6 oz fresh, full fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 3 tbsp shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Batter:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 10 oz club soda
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Neutral oil for frying
  • Begin by prepping your blossoms. Trim off any leaves from around the base of the flower. Gently open the petals to expose the stamen inside. Reach in and grab the stamen, giving it a twist until it pops out. Once you’ve removed the stamen, gently rinse the blossoms and set them on a towel to dry.
  • Make the ricotta filling. Place the cheeses, egg you, basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Stuff the zucchini blossoms. Using a spoon or piping bag, fill each with about 1-2 Tbsp of filling, depending on the size. Be sure not to overfill them or else the filling will leak out during the frying process. It's ok if the leaves rip a little, simply press them gently around the filling. Grab the end of the blossom and give it a twist to close it up. Place stuffed squash blossoms in the fridge for 30 minutes so that filling firms up.
  • Fill a large, heavy bottom skillet with 1 in of neutral oil. Heat the oil to between 375-400oF. If you have a food thermometer, use that to ensure your oil is at the proper temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can always use the classic Joy of Cooking trick; drop a 1 in square of bread into the oil. If it takes 60 seconds to brown, then your oil is ready.
  • In a shallow bowl, add the flour and salt and whisk to mix. Add the club soda and whisk until smooth. Dip the stuffed squash blossoms in batter, twisting to coat fully, then allow any excess to drip off. Place immediately in the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining squash blossoms, being sure not to overcrowd the pan (you may need to fry them in batches.
  • Fry the blossoms for 1-2 minutes per side. Once golden brown, transfer to a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle immediately with a pinch of flaky salt. Repeat with remaining batches. Cool slightly, then serve. You can serve these with marinara or an Italian salsa verde for dipping.
Recipe Tips
  • Most savory, fresh herbs would work well in place of or in addition to the basil. Try it with some fresh parsley, chives, sage, or oregano.
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