Start to finish: 50 minutes
80 grams (2/3rds cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for coating the zucchini
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chilled beer
8 zucchini blossoms, each with a small zucchini attached
2 ounces, mozzarella (preferably smoked), cut into 1- by 1/4-inch sticks
1/2 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Vegetable oil for frying the zucchini blossoms
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, heated
Shredded fresh basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 250 F.
In a medium bowl whisk together the 2/3rds cup flour and the salt. Add the beer and whisk until the batter is almost smooth. Pour the batter through a strainer set over another bowl (to get rid of any lumps) and set the batter aside while you prepare the zucchini.
Gently open the zucchini flower and insert one-fourth of the little cheese logs into the opening, pushing them down gently. Twist the top of the flower to enclose the cheese and repeat the procedure with the remaining flowers and cheese. Spread about 1/3 cup flour on a pie plate.
In a large, deep, straight-sided skillet or large Dutch oven heat 1 1/2-inches vegetable oil to 365 F. Working in two batches, dust the zucchini lightly with flour, patting off the excess and dip them in the batter, making sure they are coated all over. Gently add the zucchini to the oil and fry them, turning them a few times, until they are golden brown all over, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to paper towels to drain, and then to a rimmed sheet pan and keep the fried zucchini warm in the oven while you batter and fry the second batch of zucchini.
To serve: Spoon some marinara sauce onto each of four plates, top the sauce with two of the fried zucchini, sprinkle them liberally with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the basil and serve right away.
Nutritional information per serving: 376 calories; 223 calories from fat; 25 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 17 mg cholesterol; 641 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 11 g protein.
Sara Moulton, Associated Press