Fiori Di Zucca Fritti

 Fiori Di Zucca Fritti 2

A few weeks back I wrote about the mysterious, unknown squash plant that appeared in my front garden.* I want to update everyone. It’s grown exponentially onto the sidewalk and leading up to the house. I’ve discovered only one fruit and it was already rotted, most likely nibbled on by a squirrel. Even with the partial fruit, it was still unidentifiable. Take a look at the picture, if you have any leads, please reach out.

squash gourd or pumkin, Identification help? mystery squash gourd or pumkin

Since the plant has not produced fruit, I thought I should use some of the flowers for an Italian summer favorite – stuffed zucchini blossoms! First off, I don’t think this plant is zucchini but it’s close enough. Secondly, I’ve never made this before so it seemed like a fun challenge.

I learned a few things about cucurbitas while reading recipes and watching a few youtube tutorials on how to harvest and fry the flowers. It turns out that you should clip off most of the male blooms, leaving only two or three depending on the size of your vines. This will encourage more females to grow. Perhaps this is why I don’t have many fruits. I clipped five healthy male flowers for cooking.

female flower squash family

Femail flower above

The blossoms are so delicate which makes this dish a bit difficult. You need some patience. When harvesting, choose healthy male flowers that are open. Males will not have a globe shape at the base of the flower. This is the beginning of the fruit for females. Make sure to wash the flowers carefully. I had a few small insects on mine. Below are detailed instructions for this fun, seasonally appropriate Italian dish known in the old country as Fiori Di Zucca Fritti.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Ricotta

Ingredients (estimations):

5 zucchini flowers, with about 2 inches of stem left on
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano or more, to taste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh oregano (you can experiment with other herbs such as basil, mint and parsley)
Lemon, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup flour
About a 1/2 bottle Pilsner beer
Vegetable oil

Step 1: Wash the blossoms carefully and thoroughly. Check inside the flower and wash there as well. Snip off the pistons and let the flowers dry on a paper towel. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper, chopped garlic and oregano. Mix well. With a spoon, fill each flower in the center and gently squeeze close. The ricotta acts as a sealant. In another bowl add flour and whisk in the beer.  Don’t over whisk or you’ll lose the fluffiness of the batter.

Step 2: Add a generous amount of oil in a pan or use a deep fryer. Heat the oil to 350°. Gently roll/cover the flowers in the batter. When the oil is hot, use tongs and carefully place the flower in the oil. I recommend, if this is your first time, frying one at a time. Flip once. Fry until golden in color – about one minute on each side.

 Step 3: Lay each flower on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Plate and top with fresh oregano, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Eat promptly after frying.

Some of the flowers opened in the frying process for me. They looked deconstructed but still beautiful. They tasted amazing. The filling mixture is key to the taste of course. Experiment with different cheeses and herbs based on your preferences. For my first attempt, I’m very pleased about how my fiori di zucca fritti turned out!

Follow me in the kitchen on instagram @theglorifiedtomato.

If you missed my first column on the mystery squash plant, find it here. 

Recipe adapted from