Red, orange, yellow… This is how the map of Italian regions, divided according to a strict color code, is unraveling since the coronavirus pandemic has raged there. But yellow is not only synonymous with terraces and open restaurants: it also evokes the culinary fever that grips the Transalpines during fine weather. The cause of their excitement? An edible flower. From April to October, the zucchini is adorned with an orange flame, as delicate as it is sought after.
“The zucchini flower is a safe bet, a product that brightens up the menu and comforts the customer”, sums up Giulio Terrinoni. At Per Me, his restaurant in the center of Rome, the Michelin-starred chef meets his customers with a bountiful dish of pasta: the superspaghettone cheese, pepper, anchovies, orange powder and zucchini flowers.
A nod to the snacks of his childhood, prepared by his grandmother: “She would turn on her wood-fired oven to bake bread, and while waiting for it to be hot enough, she would make pizza, which requires a lower temperature. She called it “pizza-before-the-bread” and sprinkled it with tomatoes, anchovies and zucchini flowers. It was sublime. “ The young restaurateur covers this delicacy of Mediterranean cuisine with flowers: “Noble, delicate, the zucchini flower is inexpensive and easily declined. “
In Naples, we tear the sciurilli, pancakes of yeast dough and zucchini flowers, stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella. In Emilia-Romagna, the flowers are stuffed in sweet donuts. In Lazio, we go into ecstasies in front of the fiore alla romana : fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy. “This is the essential entry when going to the pizzeria on Sunday evening with the family”, specifies Martino Bellincampi.
Passionate about frying, this Romain puts the spotlight on the crispy little gem, with a milky and melting heart, in his chain of Pastella restaurants. “ I opened the first establishment in Rome, in 2014. There are now five, including one in Turin: there, they did not know the flower, imagine how sad their life could be! ” The delicacy is a victim of its success. “We now consume it at any time of the year, without respecting its seasonality”, regret
For thirty years, Clara Ferioli organized the threshing festival in Torreglia, a small town in the province of Padua, in Veneto. For five years, this culinary high mass has changed its name: it is now the zucchini flower festival. “Every evening, for ten days, we fry between 2,000 and 2,500 zucchini flowers. People are crazy about it: they call a month before, from all over the province, to find out when in the summer the fair will take place ”, boasts the septuagenarian, while offering some explanations:
You have 58.09% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.