Uncle Pippo always told me this when I was a young teenager: “I don’t give a damn: listen to Uncle! It’s stupid to take drugs. If you really want a little high, there are two things you can do that cost less and are more enjoyable. I can’t tell you the first time, because you’re younger: I’ll tell you when you’re a little older. The second course consists of fried zucchini flowers, golden with anchovies and strands of mozzarella. You know when you feel that crunch in your mouth…. okay… but what do I tell you to do: tea, go back to the snacks!
Things for beginners, I know. But Uncle Pippo (Filippo) really told me. And since he is of an age that justifies not having a Facebook profile, I would be happy if the children (my cousins) who read me could show him this memory of mine.
Also because I was definitely right about one thing (at least… but I think about both ): the fried zucchini flowers (when they are well fried and well dosed and crispy and hot) ARE truly amazing.
So let’s talk about one of the best-known dishes of Roman cuisine. One of those that is never missing among the starters of both traditional trattorias and chic restaurants in the capital. And we do it starting by saying that in reality… they are not exactly Romans!
Traditionally, zucchini flowers are a recipe that should be placed halfway between Umbria and Marche. Where before they were not made with mozzarella, but stuffed with very fresh ricotta or pecorinoand they are fried with a batter made only of water, flour and a pinch of salt.
It is probably precisely from the “immigrants” from Umbria and Marche in the capital where they were born. Fried zucchini flowers in the current Roman style.What do you mean stuffed with a little anchovies and mozzarella (little, just enough to give it flavor) e Fried sea bream with flour batter, eggs and beer. (or white wine or sparkling mineral water). In this sense, it is now correct to consider these fried zucchini flowers as a Lazio specialty. Because it is true that the Romans have the bad habit of turning everything that happens to them into Roman. The Colosseum or the Dome.. But always adding something concrete. And in this case they had something to add, considering the benefits and tradition of “Roman style fries”, among the most famous in both popular cuisine, street cuisine and haute cuisine.
However, Roman restaurateurs have earned the right to consider this recipe typical of Rome in the countryside. Because it is indisputable that nowhere else have the Roman-style fried zucchini flowers been as good as in Rome. And since they are still found in many good restaurants, they are unfortunately now a rare commodity in trattorias and pizzerias.
The ingredients for excellent fried zucchini flowers are few: zucchini flowers (in particular “zucchini”), anchovies in oil and fiordilatte. The latter is of good quality, but drains the whey well: the less water it contains, the better it will cook. Then there is the frying of the dough, which is a little more complicated.
For the hitter the variations are numerous and all valid.: The important thing is that the frying is quick, so that it is crispy and not breaded. Therefore, I would personally avoid yeast doughs, which are used quite frequently. However, in general, for some guidance on how to fry in the best way I recommend you read here. We talked about frying fried squid, but the post is quite detailed, with general frying instructions: hitters, times, fats, mistakes not to make.
(text by Valter Cirillo)
- 8 zucchini flowers
- 4 anchovies in oil
- 80 g mozzarella, well drained of its whey
- White flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Cold light beer from the fridge.
- oil for frying
- Carefully remove the inner pistil from the zucchini flowers and then rinse them with a slow stream of water, trying not to get it into the flower. Place the flowers on a cloth and leave them there for about ten minutes, turning them several times, so that they dry.
- Prepare the dough by beating the eggs in a bowl with the lemon juice (one tablespoon) and a pinch of salt. Little by little add 3 tablespoons of sifted flour and, while continuing to mix, little by little add a little cold beer. Mix well so that there are no lumps.
- Cut the mozzarella to obtain 8 long, thick fillets, each a little more than half the length of the zucchini florets. Also cut the anchovy fillets in half, dividing them in two lengthwise, to leave them as long as possible. Then insert a mozzarella fillet and half an anchovy fillet into each flower.
- Quickly dip the filled flowers into the batter, one at a time, making sure to coat them evenly. Finally, we fry them in plenty of boiling oil, but quickly, just enough so that they are golden and crispy.
- Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper, a few seconds on each side, and then serve them immediately. Roman-fried zucchini flowers they must Eat hot, when the mozzarella is still fibrous