End of summer bliss – Zucchini Flowers and Tomato Salad
We are so lucky here in Barcelona to have access to all of the ingredients in the Mediterranean. Today we had a massive hangover from the last of the summer parties. It’s Sunday. It means that no markets or any businesses run by locals are open. At all. Lucky for us, we live in this truly mixed neighborhood and our local markets are open. Not only can we get the local ingredients, but we live with Philippinos and Pakistanis who bring in the material for their rich cuisine and are open on Sundays. All day, not even closing for siesta.
Today we went to one of our favorite delis here, less than 100 meters from our door, and to our surprise found a big bag of fresh, lovely zucchini flowers for 1.50€. Of course that changed the course of our entire day. We grabbed them right up and decided to fry them filled with fresh cheese, parsley and chopped anchovies. Accompanied by a simple tomato and bread salad, we dined like Sicilians and that helped with the hang over.
Fried Zucchini Flowers
makes 8-10 flowers
8-10 zucchini flowers
1 cup of flour
1 cup of beer
1/2 tsp salt
1 can of anchovies in oil
150 grams or a little over 2/3 cup of queso fresco or fresh ricotta
a handful of parsley finely chopped
vegetable oil or sunflower oil enough for frying
In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, put about 2 inches or 4 cms deep of the oil. Cover and put over high heat until it reaches 350F or 160C. Hot enough for frying!
Wash the zucchini flowers and dry them.
In a bowl combine the queso fresco, sardines, parsley (reserve some for garnish) and black pepper. Mix very well. In an other bowl, combine the four, salt and the beer and beat until smooth. No lumps.
Fill the zucchini flowers with the cheese mixture but take care not to over fill. You don’t want the to explode in your oil and burn. You also don’t want to have too much for each bite. Gently twist the leaves closed, dip in the batter and let it drip off. Put the batter flowers in the oil and fry on all sides until golden brown.
Let them drain on paper towels. Plate, garnish with parsley and course sea salt. Enjoy!
Tomato and Bread Salad
I got the inspiration for this from watching a great documentary about Sicily. One of the best places on Earth I have eaten. It’s a simple dish but with quality ingredients it truly shines.
2 large tomatoes heirloom or make sure that they are good ones
3 slices of rustic bread day old toasted
good extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar - here we are lucky again. We live so close to the wine region Priorat here that we get these excellent vinegars. One we absolutely love for it’s sweet acid and depth of flavor is Mercé del Menescal.
handful of fresh basil leaves chopped
sea salt and black pepper
Chop the tomatoes into cubes, place in a bowl and add salt. Let them sit for 10 minutes to let the salt pull out the juices from the tomatoes. Slice the bread into cubes. Toss with the tomatoes, basil and the vinaigrette ingredients. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving so that the toasted bread with soak up some of the dressing and juices. Best at room temperture, so if you keep your tomatoes in the fridge, make sure to let them come to room temp before making this salad.