Fiori de Zucca Ripieni [Stuffed Zucchini Flowers]

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

Recipes that combine mozzarella and anchovies are most strongly associated with the cooking of the Roman Jewish ghetto of the 17th century. Zucchini blossoms are popular today in Rome in summer and early fall, and high-end supermarkets in America usually carry them in late summer.

12 zucchini blossoms, preferably with stems
6 ounces soft, fresh mozzarella
1⁄2 Tablespoon anchovy paste or 6 canned anchovy fillets
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup water or club soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Additional flour for dredging
Olive oil for frying
Marinara sauce, store-bought or freshly made (optional)
  1. Remove the stamen from inside the flower. Rinse the flower thoroughly and shake off excess water. Set aside.
  2. Combine the mozzarella with anchovy paste or fillets in a small processor work bowl. (If you don’t own a food processor, finely chop by hand with a large chef’s knife.) Using the metal blade, pulse the machine on and off until the cheese and anchovies are coarsely combined. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart plastic bag.
  3. Pour 3⁄4 cup of flour into a 1-quart bowl. Gradually add up to 3⁄4 cup water, whisking constantly until you have a thick, creamy consistency. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Set aside.
  4. Place 1⁄2 cup of flour in a shallow soup bowl.
  5. Cut a 1⁄4-inch hole in the corner of the 1-quart plastic bag and squeeze gently on the top of the bag until the mozzarella-anchovy mixture starts to extrude.
  6. Holding the tip of the bag just inside a zucchini blossom, squeeze approximately 1 Tablespoon of the cheese inside the blossom. Gently twist the open end of the blossom to keep it closed. Set aside. Continue this process with the remaining 11 zucchini blossoms.
  7. Heat about 1 inch of olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan or a 10-inch frying pan.
  8. Lightly coat each blossom with the flour in the shallow soup bowl, then dip into the flour/water batter so that the batter completely covers the blossom.
  9. Fry the blossoms in 3 or 4 small batches for approximately 3 minutes, until they’re golden brown and crisp.
  10. Drain on a paper towel and serve as is, or add warm marinara sauce.
Additional Notes
  • To make your coating adhere better to food, always dip the moist food in flour before coating with batter. The flour adheres to the food and the batter adheres to the flour, so it won’t slide off when placed in hot oil.