For the longest time, I had seen Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, and them likes fry up zucchini flowers like it was nothing. It was nice and orange but I never could imagine how it tasted. I hardly ate flowers. I see a rose petal on my soup from a wedding — I take it off.
That said, it took a trip to Italy two years ago to find out that there’s something nice and lovely about this zucchini flower dish. I fell in love with the balance of the herbs, the nice gooey cheesy ricotta, and the crunch of the flowers. As soon as I got home, I was wondering how can I do it… can I even do it?
Since then, I’ve been trying to chance upon some zucchini flowers but never really managed to find anything close to it until last week when my uncle cooked pinakbet with some squash (kalabasa) flowers. It looked like the zucchini flowers but I wasn’t quite sure it would work. So I gave it a shot today and the experiment was a success. I think I’m ready to be a chef!
Fried Kalabasa flowers ala Tuscano
I took after this recipe and modified it a little to my tastes. Rather than using ricotta cheese, I mixed parmesan and quickmelt cheese. Herb choices were slim in the market but they had lovely leeks which I just minced and put it in the cheese concoction. The flowers were also smaller so I had to use lesser batter.
We had no egg this morning but I figured that if I just make a tempura-consistency for my batter, it might just work. Mix cold water with the flour, season with some salt and pepper, and voila!
This dish turned out to be a really nice, even better and crispier treat compared to what I had in Tuscany. Blame it on the tempura batter or something but in the end, it was a sublime gooey snack. It wasn’t as laborious as I had imagine either. Needless to say, my first shot at localizing something I had abroad with supplementary local ingredients worked wonders.