We started Antipasto Fridays as a low-cook, snacky way to herald the coming of the weekend. This series introduces small plate favorites during the week so it may grace your own weekend opening ceremonies.
The secret is simple: soda water. The little bubbles make for an incredibly delicate tempura batter.
Tempura Fried Squash Blossoms
Batter adapted from Wolfgang Puck
8 squash blossoms
1 tablespoon rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup soda water
Grated parmesan cheese
1 clove minced garlic
Small handful of ground or chopped pine nuts
1. Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk in soda water, a little at a time, until the right consistency is achieved. Most of the batter should run off the back of a spoon instantly, leaving only a very thin coat. Allow to rest in the refrigerator 1 hour before use [not the end of the world if this doesn't happen].
2. Combine the optional stuffing ingredients and mix well. Shape the mixture into 1 tablespoon balls.
3. Gently clean the squash blossoms in a bowl of water, shaking out any dirt and removing the stamen.
4. Insert one cheese ball into each flower. Gently press the filling into the base of the flower. Cover with the petals and pinch the top to seal.
5. Heat 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat, ultimately coating your pan with a 1/3 inch of olive oil across the bottom.
6. While oil heats, dip each blossom into the tempura batter, making sure to coat completely. Let any excess batter drip off. Place the blossom in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minutes. Flip and fry the other side to brown evenly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.