Deep-fried zucchini flowers

Neil Perry
Deep-fried zucchini flowers
Deep-fried zucchini flowers Photo: William Meppem

A decadent Italian antipasti which looks pretty on the plate.

Ingredients

1 can cold beer

plain flour

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

12 ice cubes

12 male zucchini flowers

vegetable oil, for frying

1 lemon, cut into quarters

Method

Male zucchini flowers have the stem attached, while female flowers have the fruit. You can use either in this dish. You can also stuff the zucchini flowers with ricotta or a mixture of cheeses. Just pipe the mix into each flower, close it around the filling, then batter and deep-fry them.

Place the beer in a bowl, then sieve in enough flour to make a batter the same consistency as pouring cream. Don't mix it with a whisk; it is better not fully incorporated, so leave the odd lump. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the ice and set aside. Sieve some extra flour onto a plate.

Remove the stamens from the centre of the zucchini flowers and the green sepals from the base of each flower. Leave the stalks attached.

Fill a large pot with a thermometer two-thirds full with oil or a deep-fryer to the fill line. Heat the oil to 180°C.

Hold a flower by the stalk and dip it into the flour and then the batter. Tap off any excess batter on the side of the bowl and place the flower into the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining flowers, cooking them in batches and turning them in the oil until they are golden and crisp. Drain the flowers on kitchen paper.

Place 3 flowers on each plate, piled up. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve with lemon quarters. Alternatively, serve on a single platter as part of an antipasti selection.