For me, the real joy is in my orto (my kitchen garden), as the buds and seedlings start to pop out. I can hardly resist eating the first flowers on the acacia tree, and then the elderberry tree. See my recipe below. a
flowering quince...........................sage..................................garlic chives
Cucina Povera, Tuscan Peasant Cooking
which will be released September 2011
Frittura di Primavera
Battered and fried spring flowers and vegetables ©
We make this appetizer year round. In the fall and winter we use fuzzy sage leaves and sliced potatoes; in the spring we have elderberry flowers and acacia flowers; in the summer zucchini and their flowers. The important thing is to get the oil as hot as possible without letting it smoke (at least 375°). The hotter the oil is the less absorption in the food. We use olive oil because we have it, and it is delicious, but vegetable oils can be used. Fry in small batches so as large quantities will reduce the temperature of the oil.
4 clusters of unsprayed elderberry flowers (or your local edible flower), rinsed and spun dry
12 Sage leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sparkling water (or beer or Prosecco)
Extra-virgin olive oil for frying
Salt to taste
Whisk ingredients together until smooth.
Heat the olive oil. Dip the prepared flowers and leaves in the batter, shaking to remove excess, and place in the hot oil. Cook for 1 minute, until golden brown, turn once, then remove to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.