home recipes, Plate, seasonal + local

Deep Fried Zucchini Flowers + Sage Leaves

When I think of summers back in Italy, on the kitchen counter somewhere, there are deep fried zucchini flowers being served up, extra crispy, salty and delicate. Deep fried sage leaves, these are a little less known around the world perhaps, but incredibly fragrant. My favourite combination of summer fritters that will transport you right into the green heart of Italy, and prolong that summer vibe just a little.

preparing zucchini flower for frying

Ok yes, summer may be coming to its end, but it’s not too late to pop into your vegetable garden (or your next door neighbours’!) and fry up a few zucchini flowers– depending on your local climate, zucchini is still in season until early-mid October! Perhaps you’re familiar with zucchini flowers; golden, almost orange, beauties opening wide with the morning sun, then closing back up to a shrivelled up beige cocoon in the afternoon. Sometimes they emerge at the butt of a lush courgette. Sometimes they’re on their own individual stem. And if you’re lucky enough to have fresh sage, I would definitely give the deep fried sage leaves a go too!

My go-to way of consuming sage is infused in butter, wrapped around gnocchi or ravioli don’t eat sage as often as I would like to, but its aroma is like no other.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 freshly harvested zucchini flowers
  • A small handful of sage leaves (8-10 leaves)
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • Approx 100ml cold water – or enough to achieve desired consistency
  • Salt – a generous pinch or two – q.b.*
  • Oil for frying (olive or sunflower)

That’s it.. that’s all the ingredients. Very easy.

Directions:

  1. Gently wash the zucchini flowers and sage leaves with fresh water and dry with a tea towel.
  2. Heat frying oil in a pan, you can shallow fry by filling the pan up around half way or less. Or completely deep fry adding more oil to the pan, this is up to you.
  3. Prepare the batter: In a bowl, add flour, a pinch of salt or two. Gradually add water, whisking as you go. You want a slightly thinner than cake batter-like consistency. Not too thin, not too thick. You can adjust to your preference depending on how thick of a fritter you like.
  4. Prepare to fry: Plop the cleaned zucchini flowers into the batter and coat them evenly in it by rolling them around gently.
  5. Begin frying: When the oil is hot**, lay the battered zucchini flowers into the oil. You should immediately start to see frying bubbles all around, starting from the edges then eventually encapsulating the entire flower.
  6. Flip the flowers after 2-3 minutes, when it appears golden on one side. Then flip and fry it until the other side matches in colour.
  7. Sieve out the fritters with a wide mesh sieve and place them on frying paper or paper towel to absorb all the excess oil. Flip these around on the paper towel or replace the paper after a couple minutes when you see that the paper has absorbed plenty of oil.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 using sage leaves.
  9. When the fritters have dried and slightly cooled, sprinkle a little extra salt over them. If there is extra left-over batter, no need to throw that out– you can always make a plain fritter or two***.
  10. Buon appetito!

*Notes:

*q.b. In Italian we say “quanto basta”, meaning: just enough, as much or little as needed. Adjust to your own taste.

**You can check to see if the oil is hot enough by very carefully dropping a single drop of water into the oil and see if it sizzles and pops. If a lot of smoke or a big splash takes place then the oil is too hot and you’ll have to take it off the heat for a while until it reaches a suitable temperature. Another way to check is to place a single kernel of corn into the oil and seeing if it pops into popcorn. Or even the end of a wooden spoon and you’ll see bubbles forming all around.

***Pour any remaining leftover batter directly into the hot oil gently. Regulate the size of your fritter based on how much batter you pour. Flip and sieve them out when they’re golden and place these onto paper towel to cool and dry.

Hope you give these a try and let me know how they turn out in the comments below!