Hello, fellow culinary enthusiasts! I’m R, the other half of the bloggerific domestic duo known to you as TwoTaste. As M has mentioned, I’m a vegetarian currently experimenting with a raw food lifestyle which I’ve recently adopted due to a probably temporary health kick. I love summer fruit, raw nut butters, any and all incarnations of dark leafy greens, and vegetable juices.
Let’s deep-fry some cheese.
If you haven’t read Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun* yet, I suggest you do so immediately, if not sooner. I was in the middle of a seemingly futile search for a full-time teaching position while I was reading it and immediately began applying to every teaching job that was even remotely connected to my subject area at every international school in Italy. I am now locally employed (yay!) and the dream of living and teaching abroad has been put on hold indefinitely, but for now, I will content myself with the two full chapters of recipes that Ms. Mayes has thoughtfully included for those of us without a summer home in Tuscany.
Deep-Fried Squash Blossoms (recipe adapted from Under the Tuscan Sun)
You will need:
- A stove
- Cast-iron skillet or other pan that can withstand high heat (not Teflon)
- Peanut or sunflower oil (I used almost a full liter bottle)
- Squash blossoms (“zucchini flowers”)
- Fresh mozzarella cheese (splurge on the good stuff)
- 1 and ¼ cups of flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it’s at about 350 degrees. If you don’t have a deep-frying thermometer (I didn’t) drop a cube of bread in your oil. If it browns in 60 seconds, your oil is hot enough, and you get to eat deep-fried food soon.
2. Prepare the batter. Beat 2 eggs with the salt and combine with flour and water. It should resemble a fluffy pancake batter.
3.. Do not wash the squash blossoms, because it will make them soggy. Brush off the dirt and cut the stem off each flower. Open the flowers and put a piece of mozzarella cheese in each one. Dip in batter. Make a giant mess.
4. Put squash blossoms in oil using tongs and not your fingers. Make sure you know where the fire extinguisher is.
5. Fry blossoms until golden brown (3-5 minutes each). Realize you forgot to buy paper towels and drain blossoms on the nice white dishtowels from Williams-Sonoma. Don’t tell M.
6. Get so excited that you eat a blossom before it has cooled. Scald your mouth. Search for cold things.
7. Resist urge to deep-fry all of the food in the apartment, including the rest of the cheese, cookies, ice cream, bread, etc. Let oil cool and discard before things get out of hand.
Fry responsibly and enjoy!
*Not to be confused with the craptastic yet thoroughly enjoyable film of the same name that was supposedly based on the book and ended up having nothing to do with it.