Crunchy, salty, and utterly addictive, these are one of our favourite entrees. Zucchini flowers are sold at farmers' markets and are available in spring and summer. Both the female and male flowers can be used, however the female flowers develop into zucchini.
2 dozen zucchini blossoms
8 Olives + Lemon (or plain olives and 3 tsp lemon zest)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
200g fresh ricotta
50g parmesan (with extra to garnish)
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges to serve
Holding a zucchini flower, open up the flower and snap off and discard yellow stamens. Repeat with remaining flowers. If using female flowers, cut the zucchini in half lengthways, making sure it stays attached to the flower.
Finely chop olives and thyme. Place in a bowl and mix with the ricotta. Spoon a tablespoonful of ricotta mixture into the centre of each flower, the press the flower closed.
Whisk the eggs in one bowl and place the panko breadcrumbs into another.
Line a tray with paper towels. One-third fill a deep saucepan or deep-fryer with oil, then heat over medium heat until 180C. Working in batches of 3-4, dip flowers, 1 at a time, into the egg then the panko, then deep-fry for 2 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to tray. Repeat with remaining flowers and breadcrumbs. Scatter with salt, grated parmesan and serve with lemon wedges.