"The zucchini plants are out of control in the garden. We are going to have so many zucchini this year."
"Then cut some of the flowers and I'll fry them up."
"I'm not eating flowers."
"Why not, we always ate them when I was a kid."
"Yeah, and you ate dandelions and eels too."
Yes we did, and they were all delicious! But I have never been able to convince my family that zucchini flowers are tasty. Come on you fry them... of course they are going to taste good.
Well, because this recipe involved shrimp my family was willing to give it a try. I was not surprised when they found them to be irresistible. My daughter loved them the most. I, with little embarrassment, ate about six fritters without blinking... boy, did I miss fried zucchini flowers and filled with shrimp... shrimp just put them over the top!
I loved the batter from Dorie Greenspan's recipe, but I didn't like the idea of putting whole pieces of shrimp into the flowers without really seasoning them. I also found the idea of frying them in peanut oil just too non-Mediterranean. I had to cook them in olive oil.
So here is my adaptation of Dorie's recipe... please if it looks like too many zucchini this year in your garden, FRY UP THOSE FLOWERS... really, they are fantastic!
Shrimp Filled Zucchini Blossoms
by Diane Balch
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe found in "Around my French Table"
For the batter:
3/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A dash of pepper
1 cup of very cold seltzer water
For the Fritters:
12 zucchini blossoms
12 medium shrimp peeled, deveined, tails removed and chopped.
1/2 teaspoon or more of Fleur de sel or other sea salt
1/2 teaspoons or more for fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon of piment d'espelette or red cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Olive oil for frying
1) Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Then add the seltzer and whisk. The batter should be thick. Cover it and put it into the fridge to chill while you are preparing the rest of the recipe. It will thicken as it sits. If it becomes too thick (you can't coat the flowers, add a little bit of seltzer.)
2) Clean and chop up the shrimp. Sprinkle the shrimp with the lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and piment d'espelette. Set aside.
3) Brush any dirt off of the blossoms. Do not submerge them in water. With a tweezers or your fingers pull out the pistils and stamens from the inside of the blossoms.
4) Heat a large deep pan, I used a dutch oven, on the stove on medium-high heat. Pour enough olive oil in it to cover the bottom of the pan completely. You want it to rise up about 1/2 of an inch. Heat until a drop of water boils the second it is flicked into the pan.
5) While the oil is heating, use a tablespoon to stuff each blossom with shrimp.
6) Have a pan lined with paper towels ready for finished blossoms.
7) Dip one blossom at a time in the batter, cover it completely and quickly put it into the oil. Put a few blossoms in at a time. Do not crowd the pan. Let each one cook for about 2 minutes or until you see the edges starting to brown, then flip over the blossom and cook the other side for a little less time. Remove from oil and place on paper towels.
8) Serve immediately with homemade mayonnaise or my favorite: remoulade sauce ( Boar's Head has a good pre-made one.)
Note: You can stuff the blossoms with ricotta cheese and herbs or goat cheese too.