RECIPE: FRIED ZUCCHINI​ FLOWERS WITH PICKLED BABY ZUCCHINI, RED ONION AND FENNEL FLOWERS

SAW THESE BEAUTIFUL ZUCCHINI FLOWERS AND BABY ZUCCHINI AT THE MARKET TODAY AND CAME UP WITH THIS DISH. SOMETHING FRIED, SOMETHING ACIDIC: A CLASSIC COMBINATION.

QUICK PICKLING IS A GREAT TECHNIQUE TO HAVE IN YOUR REPERTOIRE. WITH THIS METHOD, THE PICKLES ARE READY AS SOON AS THE LIQUID COOLS. -JRS

This one: as good as it looks.

QUICK PICKLE OF BABY ZUCCHINI, RED ONION, AND FENNEL FLOWERS

Use whatever of these ingredients you can find, or different ones, if you like; regular zucchini, mushrooms, shallots, etc.

PREP: BRINE

INGREDIENTS

– 1 cup rice wine vinegar
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp black peppercorns
– 1 tsp whole coriander
– Good pinch salt

Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil on the stove, stir until the sugar has dissolved.

PREP: PICKLES

INGREDIENTS

– 1 lb baby zucchini, sliced
– 1/2 a medium red onion, sliced
– 1 clove garlic, sliced
– Fennel flowers, trimmed

Note: You can skip this step if you have a lot of time to brine the zucchini, i.e. half a day or overnight – sautee the zucchini in a pan without oil (add a splash of water) over medium-high heat for about three minutes until just tender. Season lightly with salt.

Place zucchini, red onion, garlic and fennel flowers in a mason jar. Bring the brine back up to a boil and carefully pour into the jar. Seal and let cool.

FRIED ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

In order to deep fry properly and safely, I suggest you use a thermometer. Fry at 350°F or so.

INGREDIENTS

– Zucchini flowers
– Flour
– Panko breadcrumbs
– Neutral oil (vegetable, canola, corn)
– Maldon salt (or fleur de sel)

Carefully open the zucchini flowers and remove the stamen. Set flowers aside.

Add a tablespoon of flour to a small bowl and 3 or so tablespoons of water and stir. Basically, you want to end up with a thin slurry that has a consistency slightly thicker than milk.

Add oil to a pot and heat to about 350°F. In the meantime, get everything ready by the stove: a plate with a paper towel for draining, the flour and water slurry, a small plate covered with breadcrumbs.

When the oil is ready, dip the flowers into the flour and water mix, coating well, and let the excess drip away. Then place them in the panko and coat well. Shake off excess.

Place carefully into the hot oil and fry for two minutes max. Remove and place on paper towel to drain. Repeat until all the flowers are done.

Before serving, season with a good sprinkle of Maldon salt or fleur de sel. Serve with the pickles.