I've got a bit of a confession to make... I'm a bit scared of deep frying and I'm even more wobbly kneed about using yeast in baking, (oooooo bombshell). This fraidy-cat syndrome Isn't just concerned with cooking either. My school netball days were similarly quashed as a result of me being a little bit scared of the ball. A trait that certainly doesn't help one move up in the netball ranks to stardom (had much more fun gossiping in the fourths with my friend Emma anyway!)Yeast and oil and therefore bread and zucchini flowers, have been very low on my list of potential culinary conquests. As you can see I'm not one bit the fearless Nigella that I, on occasion, pretend to be.
Now I've had a think about it and have come to the shocking realization that this paranoia stems from the fact that both of these methods seem to have a life of their own. The oil is always so dangerously hot and spits at you like an angry camel. And the simple notion that yeast is ALIVE and grows like a newborn, well it could just walk off the table and smother me in my sleep couldn't it? Just like those scary movies when barbie dolls come to life and go on murderous rampages. Well guess what; today I beat the oil fear! Very proud. And my face wasn't even permanently disfigured by the boiling oil! Yay! Next stop, the yeast monster. But we'll save that for another day.
I know this is another recipe for figs and cheese but it's the season and I can't bring myself to bid them farewell just yet. Zucchini flowers can really be stuffed with anything you like so if your sick of my preoccupation with figs you could also try mozzarella and olive tapenade, or spiced ricotta, or anything your palate calls for! I like this recipe because it is salty and sweet at the same time and the cheese melts into a delicious puddle on your plate ready to be mopped up by the remainder of your zucchini stem. You will not be disappointed.
Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Marinated Figs and Gorgonzola:
(I have not included specific measurements for this recipe as it really depends on how many you are making and the size of your flowers.)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable or Canola oil for deep frying
Gorgonzola cheese (make sure it is not too runny)
Zucchini Flowers with baby Zucchini still attached
Marinated Figs (These are easily sourced in specialty grocery stores and gourmet food stores such as Jones the Grocer or most Farmers Markets in Sydney. For this recipe I used figs marinated in cinnamon, Star anise and honey.)
Remove the stamen from inside the zucchini flower. I'm sure you can eat it but it doesn't look to appealing. Finely chop the figs and slice the gorgonzola into approx. 1cm square cubes. Being very careful not to tear the flower, press one cube of cheese into the bottom of the flower. On top of the cheese place a small amount of chopped fig. Lightly press another square of cheese on top of the figs and alternate the two ingredients until the flowers are stuffed to the seam of the petal, leaving room to twist the top shut. Gently twist the tips of the flowers together, sealing in the ingredients. Pour about two inches of oil into a large pan on high heat. Test the heat of the oil with a small cube of bread, if the bread starts to sizzle and brown within the first 10 seconds then the oil is ready to begin frying.
Place the egg and the flour in separate bowls next to your pan. First dip your stuffed flower into the egg to coat, and next into the flour to coat, creating a batter that will turn golden and crispy in the oil. Make sure that the tips of the flowers stay firmly twisted shut. Using tongs and keeping in mind that the oil is seriously hot, gently place the flowers into the oil. It is important not to overcrowd the pan as they will not cook evenly, try about three at a time. Turn only once after two minutes and cook for a further two minutes. Place the flowers on some paper towel on a plate and sprinkle some coarse salt over them. Serve immediately.