Fried Nasturtium Flowers

DSC_6995I’ve been browsing Marlena de Blasi’s A thousand days in Tuscany and there can’t be much to beat that rural Italian cuisine. She fries Zucchini blossoms, but I have replaced them with the peppery Nasturtium flowers that grow like weeds in my herb garden and on the compost heap. Delicious.


1 cup flour

1 cup beer

1/4 cup cold water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 ice cubes

extra virgin olive oil, for frying

In a large bowl, beat together with a fork or balloon whisk the flour, beer, water and sea salt to form a thin, smooth batter. Let the batter rest for an hour or so, covered and at room temperature. Stir in the ice cubes and let the batter rest for an additional half-hour. Stir the batter again. It should now be smooth and have the texture of double cream.

Over a medium heat, heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan to a depth of 1cm (de Blasi says 7.5 cm (!) but my extra-virgin budget doesn’t stretch to that, so I went for shallow frying). The more slowly the oil heats, the more evenly it will heat, helping you to avoid unevenly fried foods. Test the oil by dropping in a cube of bread. If it sizzles and turns golden in a few seconds, the oil is ready.

In small batches, drag the flowers through the batter, shaking off the excess. Place them into the hot oil for half a minute or so, allowing them to take on a good, dark crust. Turn them with tongs, to finish frying, them remove them to absorbent paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and eat them pan to hand to mouth.



5 Responses to “Fried Nasturtium Flowers”

  1. 1 shoreacres November 4, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Fried and salted anything seems worth a try – calamari comes to mind – but I’ll confess this never had occurred to me, in either version.

    Is there truly a flavor of the flower which comes through, or it is just a matter of that satisfying crunch?

    I’m thinking that batter might do nicely with shrimp 😉

  2. 3 Lisa November 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Last summer when I had zucchini taking over our Atlantic Seaboard garden nearly on the scale of Little Shop of Horrors, I picked the zucchini flowers and managed to fry them once in batter, italian-style. They were gorgeous, and the flavour of the flower actually did come through – it’s a slightly fresh-peppery version of zucchini, and really lovely. Mostly they are just beautiful things to see, to pick and to watch in a pan!
    It’s definitely worth planting a few – now’s the planting season. Just make sure you pick the veggies before they turn into monsters….

    I’m guessing you are planting like crazy in your new garden, I’m sure it’s going to be superb. Good description of the flavour of the zucchini blossoms – the narturtiums also have that fresh-peppery taste.

  3. 4 nadiaqh December 19, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I will have to try this. I have a garden blog that is posting tomorrow about nasturtium. love your photos! nadia

  4. 5 Jeannine December 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for popping by nadia! Love that recipe for mint syrup – it’s mid-summer here and I can tell that will be great in cocktails!

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