I’m soaking up the last days of summer at home before I leave for my vacation in a few days to Maui. I’m very fortunate to be visiting what everyone has been describing to me as “paradise.” But with recent news of a devastating earthquake in central Italy, I keep thinking back to our vacation last year to Rome. My heart breaks to think of loved ones lost, homes destroyed and the beautiful town of Amatrice severely damaged. Italy has such a special place in my heart because it’s where my family is from. About 4 years ago I visited Rome for the first time, by myself. I spent an entire week in the city just walking around alone and absorbing everything I could from the sites, history, people and food. I’ve visited different regions of Italy before, but something about Rome and the central region of Italy called Lazio made me feel comfortable, at home and excited about life.
A dish that I always make during the summer and reminds me of my visits to Rome is fried zucchini blossoms. Only Italians make a flower that is already beautiful even more beautiful to eat. Dipped in beer batter, fried lightly and seasoned with large grains of sea salt when hot – this dish is simple and stunning. It is the perfect dish to share with loved ones on a hot summer evening, celebrating togetherness. #prayforitaly.
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces of beer
1 dozen zucchini blossoms, stems removed
In a large pot, heat about 2″ oil over medium heat until the oil is hot. You can test if the oil is hot enough by adding a teaspoon of batter to the oil and if it sizzles the oil is ready. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl, then whisk in the beer until almost smooth, it’s ok to have some lumps but don’t over whisk. One by one, dredge the blossoms in the beer batter, shaking off the excess; gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt and eat while hot.
Pictures from my most recent trip to Rome, September 2015.