Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday: Italian dinner

Fiori di zucca fritti (fried squash blossoms stuffed with anchovy and mozzarella) and puntarella in garlic vinaigrette.

Faithful readers of our humble blog will remember the Puntarelle in Salsa d'Acciughe that we made a couple of weeks ago. Puntarella is a particular kind of chicory, which is not easy to find, and so we used a different variety. This week at the market, we happened to find the real thing - hearts of puntarella. But upon doing a little reading, we realized that this puntarella was harvested at a later stage than it is when it is to be used in the classic salad above. That meant that it was a little tougher when raw, and so we chose to saute it lightly in olive oil (after giving it a good bath):

After sauteing the puntarella, we tossed it in a balsamic vinaigrette with garlic. No anchovies, because they were going to be featured in the next item on the menu...

These are squash blossoms, probably from zucchini or some other type of summer squash plant. They are overabundant this time of year, so some can be spared for this classic Italian preparation. To prepare them for stuffing, the stems and stamens have to be removed and the flowers given a light rinse. Then a small piece of mozzarella (local from Tonjes dairy!) and an anchovy fillet are slid into the flower and the petals are twisted closed:

Each blossom is then dredged in flour, beaten egg, and a flour mixture again, and then shallow-fried for a couple of minutes.

The bitter and vinegary punterella salad perfectly balances the flavor of the very rich and salty squash blossoms.

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