Category Archives: Appetizers

Grandma’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

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Hi Everyone, 

Hope all is well and for my members in the northeast, I hope you are handling the heatwave and my thoughts and prayers go out to my members in Texas who are dealing with the hurricane. My prayers for all.

Today’s post is about a traditional Italian summer favorite, Zucchini Flowers. Some of you may remember my first post about zucchini flowers in July 2018 (I will repost the original link at the bottom of the page). 

I have been posting this dish on my personal email quite a bit this summer and I have been asked to reprint the recipe once again.

Many people are unaware of this favorite Italian delicacy and for Italians everywhere, it is the beginning of the summer garden harvest.

When I used to entertain guests and serve this appetizer with a creamy ricotta and lemon/basil dip, people were shocked that the zucchini flowers were edible. They are delicious!

The first time I posted about this delicacy, I included the batter that I had been using for many years which included beer as part of the batter ingredients. Well, a week ago, a very generous neighbor gifted me some zucchini blossoms and I wanted to fry them immediately because they are best on the day they are picked and I didn’t have any beer in the house so I went old school and prepared them grandma’s way. 

Grandma used a simple batter of AP flour, club soda, salt & pepper, and baking powder that I wanted to share with you.

Whisk all the ingredients together very well, and coat the flowers lightly and fry to a golden brown. It’s as simple as that.

This batter brought back memories of grandma running out to the garden in the early morning when the flowers are open (and you can see if there are insects inside) to collect the blossoms to make either plain fried zucchini flowers or she would add them to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Every bite was a culinary treat.

Absolutely delicious.

Always a summer treat. Grandma picked the male flowers (long skinny stems). The female blossoms have a small zucchini attached and keep those on the vine until fully grown and ripe.

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(The dip is whipped ricotta with a drop of lemon juice, lemon zest, and some chopped fresh basil).

I really hope you try this recipe and enjoy every bite.

So here is the recipe for Grandma’s Zucchini Flowers….very simple and delicious…

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of flowers ( approx 30 flowers)
  • 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 24 oz. club Soda
  • olive oil

Directions:

  • Wash flowers under cold running water, drain and dry the flowers and remove the stamens inside, then remove the sepals on the outer leaves- be careful and watch for insects (mostly bees) inside the petals.
  • Cook’s Note: if the flowers are too wet, they will splatter once they hit the hot oil. Be Careful…
  • Dry the flowers on paper towels or on a tea towel and prepare the batter.
  • Heat 1-1/2 inch of olive oil in a skillet. Dip the flower in the batter and let excess drip off. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side turning once until golden brown. (crispy not soggy).
  • Remove with a slotted spoon & transfer to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil.
  • You can sprinkle with sea salt or grated cheese and serve with ricotta dip.

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 There are many other recipes with leftover blossoms. 

For example, I add some diced and fried blossoms with some sauteed zucchini, cheese, sauteed onions, and a few eggs to make a wonderful summer quiche or add some fried flowers to a pizza. Both delicious treats.

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Below is my original post from July 18, 2018, with a little more detail and a recipe for stuffed zucchini flowers…..enjoy

Click on the link to open

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2018/07/18/summer-delight-fried-zucchini-flowers/2018 original post

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

Photo Jul 08, 4 55 59 PM ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

 

Mascarpone Polenta with Mushrooms and Fried Egg

 

My rendition …

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Hi Everyone,

How many of you are like me and on occasion are stumped as to what to make for a weeknight meal? The days when you just can’t think of something new to make after you have run through your usual “go-to” meals in your head that you know will be a hit, but they just aren’t what you want?

I am fortunate that it’s just Bob and I and he is not a picky eater. If I said, “let’s have ice cream for dinner” he would be okay with that.

I always have frozen meals that I have prepared when I make a larger portion than we can eat in one sitting but nothing I had in the freezer appealed to me.

I still cook as if my son lived home even though he moved out eight years ago (it has to be an Italian mom thing. My mom never cooked for just two people after I got married either). I usually save those frozen meals for days I will be at the hospital all day so we have a hot meal when we come home.

No, I needed something different and then it hit me. A few years back (seems like yesterday but it was 7 years), Bob and I attended the Feast of Saint Anthony in the North End of Boston, and one afternoon we wanted to leave the festivities of the Feast and find a quiet restaurant so I read some reviews online and we booked a reservation at a restaurant called Nebo (stands for North End Boston).

It is a Southern Italian restaurant owned by two sisters (the Pallotta sisters- Carla  & Christine) and they happen to have roots in Bari, Italy like my family. The majority of recipes are family favorites passed down from their mother, so we had to try it.

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 We were fortunate enough that Carla and Christina came to the table to spend a little time with us and we spoke of our heritage and food and traditions. Lovely hosts.

(yes, they tan and I don’t)
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I found a fantastic appetizer on their menu that I thouroughly enjoyed and decided to try and recreate it at home – simple ingredients and it quickly comes together plus it’s delicious.2013-08-23 18.54.42

The appetizer is creamy polenta with mascarpone cheese with a saute of wild mushrooms accented with sage and a fried egg in olive oil to the top of the masterpiece. The restaurant and the hosts are both fabulous and I highly recommend a trip.

(Their appetizer does not have mascarpone cheese) 

So here is my rendition…..

You can even make this a brunch item.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of mixed mushrooms (cleaned and chopped)
  • 1/2 stick of butter (divided)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped sage 
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • sprig of thyme
  • sage leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  •  1 1/2 cups of your favorite grated cheese (I use Locatelli)
  • polenta
  • water or milk or chicken broth for polenta – your choice
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • large eggs for frying

Directions:

I now use the 5 minute polenta in a box as opposed to the original slow cooked 45 minutes polenta so this step is very easy.

Prepare the polenta as per package directions which usually includes bringing water (or milk or chicken broth) to a boil with a pinch of salt and the chopped sage. Gradually pour in the polenta, stirring continuously for about 3-5 minutes until the polenta has thickened and pulls away from the pan. Take it off the heat and add the mascarpone cheese and Locatelli cheese.

For the mushrooms, melt 2 tbsp. of butter & 1 finely chopped shallot in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and for the first few minutes do not move them and let them start to carmelize. Then add 1 clove of chopped garlic, salt and pepper and continue to saute until golden brown. If the pan gets too dry add 1 tbsp more of olive oil.

Add 1 sprig of thyme and 1/4 cup sherry and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Cook for 1 minute more to cook off the alcohol then shut the heat. Check for seasoning.

Last step, in another skillet,  add olive oil and fry a large egg and try not to break the yolk.

Assembly, add 2 tbsp of butter to the polenta and mix well to keep it creamy and place in a dish, add sauteed mushrooms on top of the polenta and top the dish with a fried egg and garnish with sage. 

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We had a wonderful weekend and I even got to meet Maryann Esposito from the “Ciao Italia” TV show and she autographed an Italian apron for me …

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Here is a little slideshow of some of the highlights of our trip ….

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I hope you try this dish and enjoy it! If you do, let me know what you think….

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

 

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