Friday, August 1, 2014

Gluten-free Pan-fried Zucchini Flowers

Happy August 1st! Summer is almost winding down but I'm clinging on and trying to make the most of it by using the abundance from my mom's organic garden. There is always a lot that needs to be done in the garden, weeding, watering, watching out for worms. The tomatoes have finally started to ripen, the swiss chard is at its perfect height, the raspberries are overflowing and often get eaten up by the ants, the basil is going to flower, the vines are going awry, tendrils tangled tightly; everything is going wild and we're trying to keep up!

This year I took my mom to Italy. I re-visited Florence and then we discovered La Spezia and Cinque Terre together. It was mid-June so the zucchini flowers were abundant in all the farmers markets and we devoured them whenever we saw them on the menu. They were always deep-fried, some had mozzarella in it, some had ricotta. They were always fresh but I have to admit, after making my own, I kind of like mine best. Maybe you will agree with me that when you have your own fresh, organic zucchini flowers growing in your own backyard and you prepare it with fresh herbs from the garden and a little more thought that it will taste amazing?

I wanted this to be a gluten-free recipe. Now, while I have no problem with gluten, I think it's nice to change it up and also experiment; I like being flexible. Plus this recipe with rice flour came out so crispy! I will always make them this way and suggest you try it too! The crust has a particular crunch when you bite into one and that is a very satisfying treat.

What do zucchini flowers taste like? Not much actually. They're very mild and are basically just waiting for you to stuff them with something flavorful. I love fresh goat cheese and it's very different from the chèvre that's found in Sweden, mainly because it's not aged and doesn't have that white rind which gives it a funky flavor. Goat milk products are generally more digestible than cow milk products and carry similar nutritional value. I love the tangy sour creaminess so that's why I chose it. You could also use fresh (vegan if you wish) mozzarella or ricotta if you preferred. And then to add a bit of umami from what would come from Parmesan cheese, I added some nutritional yeast, which just MAKES this dish! It adds a deep mushroomy flavor. Yum!

So hopefully you're growing your own zucchini flowers or have a friendly neighbor who has them, or are lucky enough to find them at the farmers market. It's a celebration of summer, a delicacy of delicacies, a gift from the garden. So try them and enjoy the beautiful bounty from the garden as summer winds down.

Pan-fried Zucchini Flowers
Makes about 4 large or 6 small for 2-3 people

6 small zucchini flowers, stamens removed and cleaned if needed
1 1/2 tbs coconut oil for frying

4 oz/125g fresh goat cheese
1 tbs nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
3 sprigs of chives, chopped finely
5 leaves of basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

3 tbs/msk rice flour
1/2 tbs/msk potato or corn starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt and chili powder
4-6 tbs/msk water

1. Mix all the ingredients for the filling together. Taste for seasoning.
2. Preheat a pan on medium heat with coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients for the batter together to create thick pancake consistency. Stuff each flower with about 1-2 tablespoons of filling and gently press the petals shut to hold the filling in. Dip each flower into the batter and coat well. Gently fry in the hot oil and flip once the bottom is golden brown. Repeat with the rest. Drain on a paper towel. Eat immediately! Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...