I finally found zucchini blossoms in the market.
After asking for them in the French markets, with people looking at me like I was an alien asking to purchase blossoms which were usually discarded in France, I found them in Santa Monica. In bunches. Huge blooms, by themselves, or attached to baby zucchini stems.
I bought three dozen blossoms that looked like bright silk scarves encased in a plastic box. I brought them home, and despite a deep urge to keep them untouched, uncooked, preserved in the fridge – they were so beautiful – I tried several ways to cook them – in a sauce with whole wheat pasta, or as a side dish lightly sauteed in olive oil, or simply roasted and tossed with garlic – and then finally, I fried them.
After a failed attempt using normal flour with too much eggs which ended up heavy and soggy, I used a light batter with rice flour, which produced a light crispy blossom with soft petals that melt in your mouth.
We had them with a simple tomato bruschetta without too much topping on top – which is easier for kids to eat – and watched the sun go down from the balcony.
The early evening air smelled of salt.
And by the way the sun was fading, we could somehow sense that fall was around the corner.
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cups cold fizzy water (San Pellegrino, Perrier or other non flavored bubbly water)
1 tsp salt
3 egg whites
24 zucchini blossoms, washed and dried on a paper towel
Canola oil for frying
1. Whisk flours, salt and olive oil in a bowl.
2. Add fizzy water and blend until smooth.
3. Let the batter rest for 1 hour.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the batter carefully.
6. Dip the blossoms in the batter and fry them for about 4 minutes until golden.
7. Drain on a plate with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately.