Saturday night, I had the pleasure of dining at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, NJ again. It had been several months since I had eaten Chef Francesco Palmieri’s inventive and flavorful creations and once again, it was a great meal.
I absolutely adore zucchini blossoms and was thrilled to also see them served up as an amuse-bouche paired with a roasted plum topped with a hazelnut and Gorgonzola Dolce. It was a simply-presented dish yet it was complex in texture and flavor. When Chef Palmieri came out of the kitchen to present the amuse, I am certain he could see my enthusiasm for the blossoms and gave me a box of fresh blooms to take home when I left. What an amazing treat! The blossoms, much like most of the produce at The Orange Squirrel, are sourced from the Palmieri garden just a few blocks away from the restaurant.
I left with my box of blooms like a kid leaving a candy store and I knew I would need to create something special with such a precious present. I opted for Fried Zucchini Blossoms – perhaps the most amazing fried food item ever.
- Any neutral-flavor vegetable oil (I use canola)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 12 ounces club soda, chilled
- 12-24 zucchini blossoms
- Sea salt
- In a deep, heavy pot, bring about 2″ of oil to 350 degrees (use a candy/deep fry thermometer).
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. Add the club soda to the flour mixture, whisking until just incorporated with a few lumps. Over-whisking is not your friend here.
- Remove the stamens from the blossoms then dip each one in the batter, making sure to allow any excess batter to drip off. The goal is a thin coating.
- Place a few blossoms in the hot oil, ensuring the pot is not over-crowded causing the temperature to drop. Cool oil = greasy fried foods. Cook the blossoms for 3 minutes, turning them once, then remove them to a paper towel-lined place. Immediately sprinkle sea salt on the blossoms as they come out of the oil.
Batter is enough for up to 24 blossoms.