Crab-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
This was a birthday dinner for my friend Judy. We started with two sheep’s milk cheeses (one with nettles and one with an herbed rind) and fried padrón peppers (page 98)—the Spanish peppers where 1 out of every 10 is hot . . . like playing chile roulette. We also had Crab-Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. Then I served (at the request of my husband more than Judy) a meal that I think is way too heavy to serve in the summer, but hey, it’s what they wanted: Braciole & Sausages in Sunday Gravy. We also had a nice light salad of heirloom tomatoes, celery, cucumber, and onion in a lemon vinaigrette. For dessert we had cupcakes. They’re little teeny tiny bite-size cupcakes from Baked by Melissa in New York City and I put a birthday candle in one of the cupcakes.
- 1 (8-ounce) tub lump crabmeat
- 1 cup fresh sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
- 1 red Fresno chile, minced
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 10 to 12 zucchini flowers
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 2 eggs
- Equal amounts of cornmeal, panko breadcrumbs, and grated pecorino, for dredging
- Fennel pollen or ground fennel
- EVOO, for shallow-frying
In a bowl, combine the crab, ricotta, chile, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the stamens from the zucchini flowers. Fill the flowers with the crab stuffing and twist the ends of the blossoms to trap the filling inside.
Line up 3 shallow bowls on the counter: Spread the flour out in one, beat the eggs in the second, and mix together the cornmeal, panko, pecorino and fennel pollen to taste in the third. Coat the stuffed flowers in the flour, then in egg, and finally in the cornmeal mix, pressing to make sure the coating sticks.
Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. Working in small batches, shallow-fry the flowers until deeply golden all over. Drain them on a wire rack.