By Alicia Ghio
While I do enjoy summer squash, there is something that I like even more – the flowers. When lightly coated in batter and fried, they are a snack as addictive as potato chips. I know this as a classic northern Italian dish; however, these are a seasonal treat that spans many world cuisines.
While most Italian restaurants stuff them with ricotta cheese, I prefer to keep it simple. I make them just like my grandmother, dipped in a light batter, fried and sprinkled with coarse salt.
For the best flavor, I recommend the flowers be picked and eaten the same day.
Fried Squash Flowers
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer
- 18-20 squash flowers
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup chilled water
- salt (to taste)
- vegetable oil
- olive oil
- Prep the flowers: gently remove the leaves at the base of the flower. Gently remove the pistil (the piece inside sticking up containing the pollen). Rinse both inside and outside of flowers.
- Drain them in a colander. Then, spread out on a towel.
- Make the batter: in a shallow dish, whisk the egg by itself firs. Then, whisk in the water and flour. Whisk until any lumps disappear. You want it to be a very light batter. If you need to add more water, feel free. Add a pinch of salt.
- In a deep sauté pan heat over medium-high heat, pour in equal parts vegetable oil and olive oil. You want the oil to be about 1/2 inch deep.
- Once the oil is hot, start lightly dipping the flowers into the batter, letting any extra batter drip off. Then, immediately put them into the oil. Work in batches of 3-4 flowers in the pan at one time.
- Fry until lightly golden on one side; then, flip and fry until golden on the second side.
- When golden all around, gently remove the flower from the pan and place on a cooling rack lined with a towel to allow the extra oil to drain off. The cooked flowers should be delicate and crisp. Give the cooked flowers a touch more salt.
- Serve immediately.