Oops We Made Them Again - Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Hey, New Englanders. Now is the time to stop the zucchini madness. We know you don't want to be snacking on zucchini bread all fall, and neither do your neighbors and co-workers. Before those vibrant yellow blossoms can become full-fledged green squash, pick them. Stuff them with cheese. Dip them in egg wash and seasoned flour and fry them up. Yes, they are edible. And they're delicious, an Italian delicacy, even. If you like a more tempura-type batter, follow Sara Moulton's recently published recipe. Ours (below) has a lighter, crisper touch that we believe allows the flower, not the batter, to be the star. Make them both and see which you prefer. And just say no to zucchini bread!

8 squash blossoms, rinsed well
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin strips about as long as the flowers
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
oil for frying

Fill a frying pan up to about 1/2 inch with oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, stuff the blossoms with the strips of mozzarella. Make an egg wash by beating the egg and water together. Then mix together the flour, salt, paprika, black and red pepper in a shallow dish. When the oil is hot enough for frying, dip each blossom first in the egg wash, then in the flour mixture, and gently place it in the oil. Avoid crowding the blossoms - if the pan isn't large enough, do this is two batches of four. Cook each blossom approximately two minutes on each side, then let rest on a paper towel. Eat the entire thing while it's hot!

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