shrimp-stuffed fried zucchini blossoms
fiori di zucca fritti ai gamberi
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
MAKES: 4 appetizer servings
In place of the more traditional cheese, these blossoms are filled with a light shrimp, shallot, and marjoram mixture before getting fried to a perfect crispness.
- 32 large zucchini blossoms with 3- to 5-inch stems
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup chilled sparkling water
- Olive oil for frying
Special Equipment: a 10-inch disposable pastry bag or sealable plastic bag, a deep-fry thermometer
Remove stems from blossoms and reserve. Remove pistils from flowers and discard. Chop stems into 1/4-inch pieces.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped stems, shallot and generous pinch salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add shrimp and marjoram; pulse until finely chopped.
Transfer shrimp mixture to pastry bag. Snip a 1/3-inch opening and pipe filling into blossoms. Using your fingers, gently press petals around filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and generous pinch salt. In a second clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold whites into flour mixture. Add sparkling water by the 1/4-cupful, stirring between additions to incorporate completely. If batter is lumpy, whisk together until smooth.
In a deep skillet, heat 1 inch oil to 360°.
Holding petals closed and working quickly in batches, dip the blossoms, one at a time, in batter, coating blossoms completely and letting excess batter drip off. Fry coated blossoms in the oil, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes (adjust heat as necessary to keep oil around 360°). Using slotted spoon, transfer fried blossoms to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.
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