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Classic Fried Zucchini Blossoms

24 zucchini blossoms, with stems attached
1 1/2 cups mildly flavored olive oil (or half olive oil and half vegetable oil)
1 cup flour
1 cup water
Salt to taste

Pick over the blossoms, discarding any that look spoiled or buggy. Rinse them lightly and quickly and drain in a colander. Pat dry.

In a small skillet, heat the oil slowly over medium-high heat to frying temperature -- about 360 degrees.

While the oil is heating, gradually whisk the flour into 1 cup water to obtain a thin cream. Add a pinch of salt and whisk it in.

When ready to fry, take a blossom by its stem, dip it in the flour-and-water batter, (or pastella, as it is called), let the greater part of the batter drip back into the bowl, and drop the coated blossom in the hot oil to sizzle and fry until crisp and golden. Proceed with the rest of the blossoms, frying them in batches and removing them when crisp with a slotted spoon, to drain on a rack covered with paper towels. When all the blossoms are done, sprinkle with a bit more salt and serve right away. Serves 6.

--"The Flavors of Tuscany" by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Thursday, August 17, 2000

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