Memories of Tuscany
My parents spent a number of summers in the Tuscan hill town of Cortona, Italy. Teaching calligraphy to University of Georgia study abroad students, my mom was housed in a quaint home in this ancient walled village. Meals for the staff, and their mooching children, were served in a monastery down the road. I’m not certain who their chef was, but even at age 25, I knew this was no ordinary fare. The dish that dazzled me the most was the stuffed zucchini blossoms. Definitely exotic for this Iowan, and even though I have no idea what they were filled with, the memory of their deliciousness became etched in my brain. So I was thrilled, albeit a little intimidated, when I saw these Shrimp-Filled Zucchini Blossoms on our French Fridays roster for the month of July.
Tracking Down Zucchini Blossoms
I have never seen zucchini blossoms in my local supermarkets, so I made my way to the farmers’ market last Saturday morning. Checking in at one of the produce booths, I asked about availability of this elusive ingredient. Overhearing my conversation, another patron pointed me to a vendor who had some in stock. They were on the small side, so the large shrimp I purchased were cut in half to fill the cavity of the flower after removing the pistils and stamens (see, my high school biology paid off!). The end of the blossom was twisted before dredging it in tempura batter, then frying in a shallow pan of hot oil.
Shrimp-Filled Zucchini Blossoms
You may recall that the hubby practically goes apoplectic when I mention zucchini. But he was willing to try one of these fried delights. And try he did! He even dipped them in the sinus clearing shrimp sauce from St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, an Indianapolis institution.