With the arrival of summer comes the zucchini. Every year I have way more zucchini then a family could possibly eat. This problem is magnified by "friends" who try to solve their zucchini problem by sharing it with others. Barbara Kingsolver has a funny chapter in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in which she recounts her losing battle against the overabundant zucchini. She might have won if she was only dealing with her own zucchini, but neighbors were kindly dropping more off at her house while she was away.
She writes, " It's a relaxed atmosphere in our little town, plus our neighbors keep an eye out.... So the family was a bit surprised when I started double-checking the security of doors and gates any time we all were about to leave the premises. 'Do I have to explain the obvious?' I asked impatiently. 'Somebody might break in and put zucchini in our house.'"
Despite the inevitable zucchini fatigue, there is no greater pleasure for me than zucchini flowers. Battered and fried, they are such a treat. As I was stealing the male flowers (the ones not attached to a zucchini) from the plants at my daughter's preschool garden, I had a vision of fried zucchini flower pizza. It is delicious and you can even get rid of a few zucchini by grating them and hiding them under the cheese and putting them in the sauce.
Fried zucchini flower pizza
6 zucchini flowers
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup club soda or seltzer water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup red sauce (whatever you like. Make your own tomato sauce or used jarred pizza sauce)
1 small zucchini, grated or chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
2 tablespoons small basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Remove the pistils from the flowers by breaking off the ends and pulling them out. Rinse and set aside to dry.
Make batter by whisking together flour, salt and club soda in a bowl. Dip flowers in batter and remove any extra batter by scrapping along the side of the bowl. Fry in olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. The recipe calls for 6 flowers, but there is plenty of batter if you want to do a few more to eat while the pizza cooks!
Roll out the pizza dough and lightly brush the rim with olive oil. Spread out sauce, zucchini and then cheese. Arrange the flowers on top.
Bake on the bottom rack of a 500 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until crust is slightly brown. Remove from oven. Add the basil leaves, cut and serve. Enjoy!