Eating Flowers

by Michael Tucker
Print Email

from-our-gardenAlessandra, a neighbor of ours in Umbria, is a wonderful cook.

That’s a redundant statement, as virtually everyone in Umbria cooks well. Wait, let me qualify that — virtually every woman in Umbria is a wonderful cook. Boys were urged by their mothers to do other things — careers and such — whereas the girls fashioned ravioli with their nimble fingers before they learned to walk.

Anyway, Alessandra once served us an appetizer of various flora — zucchini flowers, sage and basil leaves — that were dipped in the lightest, most elegant batter I have ever tasted and then flash fried. They were appetizing indeed. When I pressed her for the batter recipe, she said, “It’s simple to remember — everything is one.”

As I struggled to comprehend this Zen concept, she scribbled the recipe on a napkin, which I still have.

PASTELLA ALESSANDRA

1 cucchiao d’olio
1 cucchiao di grappa
cento grammi di farina
un pizzico di sale
acqua ad occhio

I will translate:

ALESSANDRA’S BATTER

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of grappa
100 grams of flour (4/5 of a cup)
a pinch of salt
water to the eye

Just add the oil, grappa and salt to the flour in a bowl; slowly add cold water, stirring with a fork until you get the consistency you want, which is a thinnish batter that pours rather than a thick one that would make a pancake. It should generously coat a spoon.

If you don’t have grappa, vodka is an okay substitute, although I recommend you buy some good grappa. Then you’ll have it around for this recipe as well as for medicinal purposes.

We have some nasturtiums growing in our herb garden and we fried them up — along with sage and basil leaves and it worked beautifully.

However, I don’t think you can just eat any old flower — only certain kinds. So don’t let me hear about any of you chowing down on your tulips, okay?

 

Michael Tucker is an actor and author whose recent novel is "After Annie."  He writes about his love of food on his blog Notes from a Culinary Wasteland.

Comments have been closed for this piece.

 

restaurant news

Danji
New York
by Michael Tucker

danjiext1I had an experience the other night that was right out of Larry David’s universe or Seinfeld’s. A classic. I’ll try to describe it for you.

It was around 9:45 and I was at Danji, the wonderful...

Read more...
Beverly Hills Meets Palm Beach at Cafe L'Europe
Florida
by Nancy Ellison

palmbeachflorida.jpgJust for fun, close your eyes. Picture Zsa Zsa dining at Bistro Garden or Liz at Chasen’s – bejeweled and pleasing to the eyes. Imagine charming George Hamilton tanned and natty in his double-...

Read more...
Mozza Mozza
Los Angeles
by Maia Harari

ImageMario Battali’s newest haunt in L.A.

Mozza Osteria, Mario Battali’s newest adjunct to his Mozza Pizza just opened on Melrose, just west of Highland. Though most new restaurants in LA advertise...

Read more...
Coco Lezzone
Italy
by Steve Zaillian

steve_zaillian.jpg The first time I ate at Coco Lezzone in Florence, it was at the invitation of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who knows a thing or two about Italian cooking:

(1) He created the gourmet...

Read more...