Serves 2 as a starter
4 baby courgettes with flowers attached
Ingredients for the flowers filling
100g marscapone cheese (or ricotta – or even Philly!)
50g feta cheese (or goats cheese) – finely crumbled
2 anchovy filets – finely chopped
green part of a spring onion – finely sliced (or dsp of chopped chives)
leaves from 3-4 stalks of tarragon – finely chopped (or you could use fresh basil)
small bunch flat leaf parsley – leaves picked and finely chopped
zest of half a lemon – finely grated
freshly cracked black pepper
Ingredients for the parmesan crust
1 large free range egg
1 tbsp cornflower
25g finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
½ tsn dried red chilli flakes
fresh cracked black pepper
pinch sea salt
nasturtium flowers if available.
You might find courgette flowers at a farmers’ market (if you live in Dulwich or another trendy location…) but even I have to admit that, unless you grow courgettes yourself, this is going to be challenging. However, it is unbelievably summery and beautiful (like Brenda’s latest frock…) and guests or a paramour, will be bowled over – and in the case of the latter, will definitely make the effort worthwhile in terms of the quality of your evening later on …… Anyway, moving swiftly forward
1) Gently open the courgette flowers to snip the stamens off – they’re not poisonous, but they’re rather bitter (unlike Brenda, who is both…) Wipe all over and remove any insects.
2) Combine all the ingredients for the flower filling in a bowl and stir/beat until smooth. Check seasoning although it’s unlikely any salt will be needed due to the feta and anchovy
3) Combine in a separate bowl (long enough to accommodate the full length of the courgette with its flower attached) the dry ingredients for the parmesan crust (again, careful with salt, due to the Parmesan) ….
4) ….and in another bowl, similarly long, crack the egg and gently beat
5) Spoon or pipe the flower filling mix into the courgette flower – you should get 1-2 tsp mix into each one. Carefully fold the petals over the mix and twist the (usually four) tips together to seal
6) Heat a medium frying pan with enough olive/vegetable oil (you can use which combo you like but some olive oil for its flavour is nice) to cover the bottom of the pan to a depth of about 1cm
7) While that’s getting up to temperature, dip each courgette (with attached stuffed flower) into the egg and then into the cheesy crumb mix.
8) Once the oil is at 180C (or hot enough to brown a cube of bread in about 1 minute, if you haven’t got a thermometer), gently lower the courgettes into the oil and shallow fry . After 2 minutes, turn and do the same on the other side
9) After 4 minutes in total, the courgettes will be a lovely light golden brown at which point they should be removed from the pan and laid on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil
10) Serve immediately with a pinch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and a couple of nasturtiums if you have them.