Few places do fried food to the level of Rome. From the suppli to the Animelle fritte (sweetbreads), and the Carciofi alla giudia (fried artichokes) to (our fave) fried zucchini blossoms, it's hard to cross a menu that doesn't have at least one thing fried. We've long stuffed zucchini blossoms with ricotta (blended with herbs and lemon zest) but this way, with mozzrella and anchovies, is bold and unapologetic, a lot like Rome.
cut into four pieces
cut into quarters, for garnish
Combine flour, sparkling water, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set the batter aside to rest at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil to a 1-inch depth and heat to 350°F.
Clean zucchini blossoms by gently twisting the pistils (often covered in pollen) from the center of the flowers until they come off. Using a damp paper towel, carefully remove any dirt from the petals. Mix together the cheeses and anchovies and fill each blossom with the mixture. Holding the blossoms by the flower tips, dip them in the batter until well coated. Let the excess batter drip off and place on a wire cooling rack (set over a plate or in a rimmed baking sheet) until ready to use. Repeat to coat all the flowers.
When blossoms are ready and oil is heated, carefully add some blossoms to the oil (do not overcrowd the oil — just cook 2 to 4 blossoms at a time). Cook about 4 to 5 minutes per batch until the blossoms are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, season with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Repeat to cook all the blossoms then serve immediately with the salsa verde passed on the side.