Thursday, 8 July 2010

A recipe for courgette flowers

Hard to find, it's worth making a bit of extra effort to celebrate these beautiful flowers when you can get your hands on them! Perhaps next year I'll try growing them, but for the moment they seem rather rare and magical.

Crisp and lightly battered in a tempura style coating, these make a tasty starter.

Serves 4:

12 courgette flowers, washed and dried on kitchen paper
250g ricotta
30g parmesan, grated
A strip of lemon peel (no white pith), very finely chopped
A small bunch each of mint and chives, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying the flowers
100g self raising flour
175ml ice cold sparkling water

Lemon wedges to serve

1) Mix the ricotta, parmesan, herbs and lemon zest together, then season to taste. It won't need much salt because the parmesan will partly season the mixture. Then use a small spoon to fill the flower heads with the mixture, and gently twist the petals closed.

2) Heat 5cm of oil in a heavy bottomed pan until a cube of bread browns after being fried for 2 minutes.

3) Gently stir the flour into the sparkling water- don't worry if there are a few lumps, it's better not to overwork the batter. The consistency should be like single cream.

4) Dip the flowers into the batter to cover them completely, then carefully lower them into the oil, taking care not to splash oil onto yourself. You will probably only be able to fit 4 or 5 into your pan at one time.

5) Let the flowers sizzle for 3 or 4 minutes, until crisp and a pale golden in colour. Drain on kitchen paper and go on to the next batch.

6) Serve with lemon wedges

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