Zucchini plants turn into monstrous godzilla-like creatures with hairy arms and ever expanding green tubes that quickly take over garden space and, even worse, the vegetable bin in my refrigerator.
I’m pretty sure one little zucchini plant could feed the Northern Hemisphere – if not the world. When I see a zucchini recipe I file it immediately because I know some day when I have a garden again I will undoubtedly get sick of stuffed zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini stir-fry, and zucchini soup.
The flowers are something I never get sick of and thankfully I have no remorse picking the blossoms because they’re so tasty. Delicate and sweet with a tiny hint of bitterness, the flowers make a fantastic match for scallops. Add a little fresh pesto and some lemon zest for that Mediterranean summertime appeal and deep fry in light tempura batter for crispiness.
Tempura Zucchini Flowers Stuffed With Scallops, Lemon, & Basil
4 big sea scallops, chopped
6 -8 big zucchini flowers with stamens removed (just reach in and pinch it out)
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 bunch basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
Tempura batter (adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s tempura recipe):
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups carbonated water (pellegrino, soda water, etc)
vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions To make tempura batter, sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk in carbonated water until batter is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes up to 1 hour.
Blend basil, parmesan, and olive together in a blender. Season with a little salt and pepper. Reserve. In a small bowl mix chopped scallops with 3 pinches of lemon zest and 1 Tablespoon of pesto. Season with just a little salt and white pepper. Open the zucchini flowers without tearing (if possible, don’t worry too much if it rips a little) and stuff with one Tablespoon of scallop mixture. Twist and pinch the flower just above the stuffing to close.Refrigerate until ready to fry.
Heat vegetable oil in a high sided pot or in a deep fryer to 350˚F. You need at least 3 inches of oil to fry these in. Dip the stuffed zucchini flour into the tempura batter and fry two at a time until crispy and light golden. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels and drain. Plate with a little pesto sauce and zucchini flower on top.