Monday, July 16, 2018

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

I love the idea of stuffing squash flowers with a filling--either meat, seafood, vegetables or a combination. It is difficult to find these delicate flowers unless you grow your own. These zucchini flowers came from my parents' garden. Once harvested the flowers should be used immediately since they tend to wilt or bruise rapidly. I had to work (in the clinic) so I stored them in a container, lined with paper towels to prevent them from touching each other, and kept them in the refrigerator for 2 days. Luckily for me they appeared in good condition after several days. These Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are filled with scallops, shrimp and roe from 10 green crabs. You can eat them as they are with your favorite sauce. I prefer eating them on a bed of fresh home-grown garden herbs and vegetables and a drizzle of the Seasoned Black Bean Sauce (Nuoc Tuong). The greens came from my parents' garden. I harvested the crabs using my own modified pyramid trap.

fried stuffed zucchini flowers with home-grown garden herbs
and seasoned black bean sauce (nuoc tuong)
Fried Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Ingredients:

3 oz sea scallops
3 oz shrimp
Uncooked roe from 10 green crabs, strained and discarded the liquid
2 Tbsp chopped Chinese chives
2 tsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp porcini mushroom powder
A large pinch of ground black or white pepper
10 fresh zucchini flowers
1 large egg, whisked
1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
A pinch of salt
Oil for deep frying

Method:

For the Filling: In a food processor, add scallops, shrimp, roe, chives, tapioca flour, fish sauce, mushroom powder and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.

Whisk an egg in a bowl and set aside. Sift or mix the corn flour and salt onto a plate. Stuff each flower with the filling and set aside.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a pot or a deep fryer. Once the oil heats up to about 350-375 F dip one of the stuffed flowers (dip only 1 at a time to prevent clumping up with too much flour) into the whisked egg, shake gently to remove any excess egg. Next dip it to the seasoned corn flour and gently shake off excess flour and gently drop it in the hot oil. Fry 1-2 stuffed flowers at a time (avoid overcrowding the pot or fryer as this will decrease the oil temperature). Fry for about 3-4 minutes (turn the stuffed flowers a few times) or until the flowers are golden brown. Remove from the pot or fryer and place them on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve hot.

filling and flowers--ready to be stuffed
stuffed flowers, whisked egg, seasoned flour
coat the stuffed flower in the whisked egg, shake off excess egg
coat the stuffed flower in seasoned corn flour, shake off excess flour
ready to fry
fry 1-2 stuffed flowers at one time
fried stuffed flowers on paper towels to remove excess oil
this is a re-fried stuffed flower
a cross section of the fried stuffed flower
Helpful Hints:

*Retain about 1/2 to 1-inch of the flower stem so that you can hold onto it while dipping it in the egg and flour.
*The scallops and shrimp were frozen in my freezer and I add them to the food processor when they were partially thawed. They do not have to be completely thawed to use. 
*If you do not have a thermometer then use a little stuffing to test whether the oil is ready to fry. If the stuffing sizzles quickly then the oil is ready. 
*You may re-fry the stuffed flowers for about 30-40 seconds in hot oil if needed to refresh (heat and crisp) them.

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