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A typical Mediterranean dish: Fried Zucchini Flowers or Squash blossom in English, and in France they are called Beignets de Fleurs de Courgette.
There are many versions where the flowers are coated with different types of batter.
I have tasted batters made with eggs, herbs, even breadcrumbs. Personally, I prefer to keep it simple as the flowers have a delicate flavour which would otherwise be overwhelmed by any stronger ingredient.
I use simple tempura batter equal parts of water and flour, and 1 tbsp of semolina flour to add some crunch.
Besides salt, I add saffron. As saffron is pollen, it actually enhances their flowery flavour.
Which flower to use
There are two types of flowers, the male which is the flower that pollinates, and the female which is the flower that yields the zucchini.
You can use either flower, however, it is best to use the male one for frying. The inside is smaller and there is more room to insert the filling.
Use a mild, but not watery cheese such as cubes of mozzarella for cooking. Fresh watery mozzarella will leak water into the frying oil, producing dangerous sparks.
You can also add a small piece of cooked ham. Anything stronger will overcome the flavour of the flower.
Fried Zucchini Flowers Recipe
- 10 zucchini flowers
- 1 cup flour all purpose
- 1 tbsp semolina flour this is the secret to make them extra crispy
- 1 cup water
- 2 sachets saffron
- oil for frying
- mozzarella and ham optional for the filling
- Wash the flowers making sure there are no insects inside. Cut the sepal but leave the pedicel of male flowers. Let them drain upside down.
- Once they are dry, add the fillings inside the flower. In the meantime heat the oil for frying at medium heat.
- In a bowl mix the 2 flours with the saffron, then add water and salt
- and whisk until combined
- Dip the flowers in the mix
- Making sure they are all coated with the batter
- Deep fry the flowers
- Turning them to cook evenly on all sizes
- Once cooked, lay them over a paper towel to absorb the excess oil
- Serve immediately so they will be warm and crispy