Unconventional Ingredients: Zucchini Blossoms

By Arielle Hartman

Everyone loves flowers, right? They're brightly colored, cheery even, and signify the approaching summer months. Something about the way they open up toward the sun is just so simple and beautiful I almost can't stand it. Then why am I about to fry these poor, helpless zucchini blossoms into oblivion and devour them like some horror movie monster? Plus, I'm excited about it. Is that wrong? Do I care? The temptation of deliciously crispy blossoms may be too much for me to pass up, even if I do feel like a cold-hearted flower killer. Maybe I'll perfect my evil laugh.

I first encountered zucchini blossoms when I was volunteering at Pleroma Farms, in Hudson, New York, last summer. We sowed, we seeded, and we ate like kings, picking from the fresh and plentiful crop that was our backyard. We harvested some zucchini for the morning market and kept the blossoms for ourselves, careful not to waste any part of the plant. We fried those suckers up and gulped them down as soon as they hit our plates, scorching our mouths in the process. But, boy, were they delicious, crispy and golden, yet super light and a bit sweet. It is this taste that prompts me to drop the first blossom into my pan, relishing the sizzle, leaving all worries aside and fully embracing my inner flower slayer. Don't judge me.

I made a really simple batter. Mix together an egg, 3 heaping tablespoons of flour, a bit of salt and some milk. You can mix in some herbs too, like parsley or oregano, for some more flavor.

Then dip those blossoms in the batter, apologize to the invisible zucchini blossom gods and fry them in an oiled pan until they're golden brown. And voila! An unusual summer appetizer in five minutes flat! Tell your friends! The only downside is that now you are a flower killer as well. Welcome to the club, we're glad to have you...now go practice that evil laugh.