Humbled by a simple zucchini flower
I've battered and fried a whole lot of stuff in my 51 years, including a lot of tempura, but tonight I was humbled by a handful of zucchini flowers from my backyard.
This was the first time I'd tried making a battered and fried zucchini flower (didn't want stuffed or anything more complicated that flower and better). I was making a half dozen freshly picked, washed and patted dry, stamens removed and salted. The batter was a simple 1/3 slightly beaten egg combined with 1 heaping tsbp all purpose flour and 5 oz 2% milk. I used a 1/2" deep of olive oil in a 1 qt pot for the frying.
After dredging the flowers, things looked OK. But upon sticking them into the bubbling oil, all the batter sort of "slipped off" leaving me with mostly naked flowers.
Any ideas what went wrong here? Since I don't have that many plants in my garden I can't conduct too many experiments. But, I think I can expect another half dozen shots at getting this right. Would love to serve it for company if I can get the batter to work.
you may have done this, but couldn't tell from your description. But did you dredge it first in plain flour before dredging in the egg mixture? this can help the egg batter to adhere to the flower. Just a thought.
Your inclination to go simple was right on, but you may have "slipped" (couldn't resist) off-track with the egg. Don't salt the dainty beauties till after fried. Dip into a simple flour and water mix (sub beer or sparking water on the water, and a little cornmeal or rice flour on the wheat flour if you like). It should have the texture of heavy cream. Dip, twist, give a light wrist shake to get rid of excess and fry. I use a deeper oil and don't bother with olive oil since the flavor is so delicate. Salt after. Marlena De Blasi uses a salted water mist- sounds interesting. I also do not remove the stamens as I like the firm contrast they offer. Good luck. This is the only reason I even plant zucchini.
The batter should be very light -- like heavy cream or crepe batter - I use just sparkling water and flour with some herbs.
Try rice flour (non glutinous) mixed with water or club soda, and no egg. I think the egg is what went wrong--it puffed and separated from the flower in the hot oil.
Yum-yum, fried zucchini blossoms ... I was also inspired to make this after reading Marlena di Blasi's "A Thousand Days in Venice". There I was, ready with blossoms, flour - but no beer. *sigh*
I found a Vietnamese brand/style tempura batter mix in my pantry. I mixed some up with enough water to make the consistency of light cream, then let the batter rest while I trimmed the blossoms and heated the oil. (I prefer rice bran oil for frying because of its high smoke point.) What I ended up with was the crunchiest zucchini blossoms with a whisper thin coating of batter.
When I use this batter for fried bananas I mix to the consistency of a heavy cream.
I prefer this to the Japanese style because I don't have to go through keeping the batter ice cold. Can also change from thick to thin batter by the amount of water I use.
TL Corp. "Bon Con Voi".
Ingredients: wheat flour, corn starch, rice flour, salt, baking powder.
Net wt: 12 oz
(Packed in cellophane bags)
It is a US product packed and distributed by TL Corporation. Ranch 99 carries this and several other brands as well.