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Fried Cheese-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Published April 2019

Why This Recipe Works

For a fried zucchini blossom recipe that would produce plump, delicate flowers covered in a light, crisp coating, we first stuffed the blossoms with a blend of creamy ricotta and sharp Pecorino Romano brightened with lemon and mint. For our batter, we used both all-purpose flour and cornstarch and swapped in a surprise ingredient—vodka—for water, finding that the alcohol didn’t activate the gluten in the flour and that its flavor burned off during cooking. Twisting the stuffed blossoms when dredging them in the batter kept the petals closed around the filling. Deep-frying them in a large Dutch oven in 350-degree oil produced a delicately crisp coating without being so hot as to damage the fragile blossoms.

1 cup (8 ounces) whole-milk ricotta
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (½ cup)
2 large eggs, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
teaspoon table salt
teaspoon pepper
16 zucchini blossoms
2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup vodka
1 cup seltzer
Nutritional Information

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Instructions

Serves 4 to 6

Use zucchini blossoms that measure 3 to 4½ inches in length from base to tip of blossom. Do not omit the vodka; it is critical for a crisp coating. Using a twirling motion (like winding a watch) when dipping the blossoms in the batter encourages the petals to twist closed around the filling. Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more for this recipe. Be sure to begin mixing the batter when the oil reaches 325 degrees (the final temperature should be 350 degrees).

Total Time: 1 hour

1.
 Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with double layer of paper towels. In medium bowl, stir ricotta, Pecorino, 1 egg, mint, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth; set aside. Trim blossom stems to 1 inch and remove spiny leaves at base of flowers. Gently peel open petals and remove pistil and any dirt inside. Briefly rinse outsides of blossoms with water. Shake off excess water, then arrange blossoms on 1 prepared sheet. Pat blossoms dry with paper towels.

2. Spoon ricotta mixture into zipper-lock bag and snip off 1 corner to create ½-inch opening. Working with 1 blossom at a time, pipe enough filling into blossom to fill green base, stopping just before orange petals begin. Gently twist petals to seal in filling, then transfer to prepared sheet. Refrigerate until ready to fry.

3. Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. While oil heats, whisk flour and cornstarch together in large bowl. Whisk vodka and remaining 1 egg together in medium bowl. Whisk seltzer into egg mixture. When oil reaches 325 degrees, pour seltzer mixture into flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined (it is OK if small lumps remain).

4. When oil reaches 350 degrees, hold 1 blossom by stem and twirl through batter until coated. Lift blossom, allowing excess batter to drip back into bowl, then gently lower into oil. Moving quickly but carefully, repeat with 7 blossoms. Fry until crisp and lightly golden, about 2 minutes, adjusting burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature of 350 degrees. Using slotted spoon, transfer blossoms to second prepared sheet and season with salt to taste. 

5. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining 8 blossoms. Serve immediately.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.