Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mission: Zucchini Flower Tempura

So finally, after a false start a couple of weeks ago, we were able to find some nice, fresh zucchini blossoms. And while we were at it, we got some squash blossoms as well. And with these wonderfully fresh items - procured from our new favorite farmers market - we went to our friends' house and went... to... town.

(Before we get started, a big 'what-up?' to our friends in Tucson who introduced us to squash blossoms on a trip to Del Mar some time ago... hey, what up kids?)

So first, our meez. As you can see, this one is kinda simple - just the blossoms, and some tempura batter. The Album doesn't provide a tempura batter recipe, so we found a simple one online and mixed it up! (Apparently, ice water is the key to success in a light, airy tempura.)

Zucchini (and squash) Flower Meez

Meanwhile, the oil was getting toasty warm in a pot nearby. So the first thing you do is, you dunk the blossoms in the tempura:

Dippin' in the batter

And then you dunk them into the boiling hot oil (actually, it was just up to around 375)...

First one in the oil

And then we put some more of them in there...

It's a fry party!

And waited for them to get golden brown...

Getting nice and toasty

And then we fished them out. And ate them.

PDC Zucchini Flower Tempura

Oh, and the taste? Kinda like deep fried candy except light and delicious and kinda like lava -- at least the first one was. (Our advice to you? Don't stuff the whole thing in your mouth at once.) But seriously, they were delicious. Kind of like moderately "healthy" fried bar food. The tempura was crispy and the zucchini was soft and the flowers added a unique texture. With a little maldon salt, it was perfect appetizer. Delicious, and easy -- minus the cleanup of deep frying. (Which we didn't even have to do because our rock star friends that we cooked for offered to clean up!)

Notes to selves:
Things directly removed from hot oil are... hot. And they rock. And are really good and light and wonderful. And the tempura onion rings we made with the remainder of the batter were freakin' awesome, as well.

Time, mis to eat: 45 minutes. 30 of which were heating the oil. Or maybe not that long. There were some margaritas involved, and maybe a manhattan or two as well. Typical deep frying time, let's say.

Next Up: Honestly? Unclear. Depends on what we find at the farmer's market and how many dishes we feel like washing. TBD. But it will be good! Oh, it will be good!

Blast from the past: We were to understand there'd be punch and pie.


AJ said...

Funny how the market sparks similar ideas all around the same time...I also made some fried squash blossoms about two weeks ago. For the tempura batter, I used a mix of flour, Baking Powder and cornstarch. Instead of ice water, I use mineral water (Pellagrino). As I've learned from the Japanese, the trick is to lightly mix the batter in small batches and at the last minute, leaving lumps of the dry mix. It gives a super crispy and light coating...try it next time and see if you like it!

I also stuffed the blossoms with some fromage blanc lightened up with creme fraiche and spiked with a fine brunoise of white peach. Serve with just a little honey...and what better a way to ring in summer.

Looking forward to your future entries!

Brant said...

Looks great! And lightyears better than that first-time experiment with squash blossoms back in Del Mar (although the rest of the meal was scrumptious, particularly your contributions).

Next time we'll be checking this blog we'll probably be "Friends in Pittsburgh" rather than "Friends in Tucson". Looking forward to it!