zucchini flowers: stuffed, battered & fried

Reasons to love my Weibdeh vegetable stand in summer:

1. It’s warm enough for the owner’s birds to live outdoors again
2. That incredibly flattering mirror inside
3. The amazing photo of the king in a tshirt using the computer next to said flattering mirror (Royals: they’re just like us)
4. Those days when you find an entire box of zucchini flowers

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The recipe I used follows the spirit (though not the letter) of the Stuffed Zucchini Flowers over at Cook Almost Anything. This will yield light, delicious bitefuls perfect to whet the appetite, though you should probably come up with something more substantive to follow because they’ll go very fast, are best eaten when just fried, and will leave you wanting more.

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Fried Zucchini Flowers

You will need:

As many zucchini flowers as you wish (1-3 per person, perhaps)
A generous spoonful of cream cheese for each flower you have
Salt, pepper, cumin, and fresh paprika (to taste)

For the batter:
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
Iced water

A bunch of oil (plain old vegetable or sunflower oil is best)

First, mix your spices in with your cream cheese until you’re satisfied with the taste, then return your cream cheese to the fridge – the cooler it stays, the easier it’ll be to work with.

Next (and this is where the original recipe really comes in handy), you’ll prep your flowers. First rinse them gently but thoroughly in water.

You’ll have to open up each flower by peeling them open at the seams and then remove the pistil from inside (I usually peel them open in a few spots).

Next, carefully place a spoonful of filling in each flower and close it up again.┬áThe flowers should happily spring back into their original form, and if they’re reluctant, a little gentle twisting at the top where they come together will do the trick.

Before mixing the batter, prepare to fry: the easiest thing I’ve found is to heat up a generous amount of oil in a deep pot. While the oil is heating up to shimmer-level, go ahead and batter your flowers. An excellent batter tip from Cook Almost Anything: the colder the batter, the crisper the results. Using ice water is an easy way to keep things chilly. First whisk together the egg and flour, then add just enough cold water for a thin batter (thinner than pancake batter, like a heavy cream).

Batter each flower by dipping it into the batter (while holding onto its base) and letting drip for a few seconds. Place into the now-shimmering oil, letting it sizzle for about 30-60 seconds on each side, and then place onto paper towels and eat as soon as you are able.

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