Roman-style courgette flowers

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 courgette flowers with courgettes attached, or more if they’re small
150g grated mozzarella
8 fresh anchovy fillets
A handful freshly chopped basil leaves, plus more for scattering at the end
4 long chives or the ends of spring onions (optional)
100g plain flour
100ml soda water, or a little more if needed
Rapeseed oil for frying
100g caper berries
1 lime Seasoning

Method

Pick your courgette flowers and courgettes as close to when you are cooking as possible. If stored in the fridge, the flowers will last without wilting for about 24 hours.

Gently wash away any dirt from the courgettes, leaving the flowers attached, then flush out the flower with cold water to ensure no bugs are left behind.

Be sure to remove the stamen-it should pull out easily, but, if it doesn’t, cut it off with a small knife. Return the courgettes with their flowers to the fridge while you prepare the filling and batter.

In a bowl, combine the grated mozzarella, chopped anchovy fillets and basil. Once it’s well mixed, spoon the filling into the courgette flowers. Twist the petals at the end of the flowers to seal them and knot with a chive to keep them closed.

Place the flour in a bowl and season it, then gently roll each flower and courgette in it and place to one side. Pour the soda water over the flour and mix until a lumpy batter has formed, then lightly coat each courgette and its flower.

Heat half an inch of oil in a wok until very hot to ensure the flowers will be crisp, and then fry them with their courgettes in batches of two for about one minute on each side. Once they’re slightly browned and crisp, place the courgette flowers and courgettes on a plate with kitchen roll to absorb
any excess oil.

More ways with courgette flowers           

Saffron-couscous courgettes

Heat chicken stock with a pinch of saffron and allow to infuse for five minutes. Pour triple the volume of stock over seasoned couscous and wait 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Fill the flowers with couscous. Steam gently for four minutes and allow to cool. Serve cold with sliced spring onions, chilli, micro herbs and vinaigrette.

Courgette flowers Provençal

Prepare courgettes and flowers as per the main recipe, then sauté finely diced red onion, courgette, aubergine and red pepper in olive oil. Add red wine, tinned tomatoes and basil, and reduce gently for 15 minutes. Add pesto to taste, mix and season, then fill the courgette flowers. Brush the courgettes with olive oil before lining them up in an ovenproof dish. Place in a moderately hot oven for 15 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan.

Courgette flower salad

Add mixed leaves and other salad ingredients to a bowl and top with several whole courgette flowers for a salad that will impress. Serve immediately, scattered with fresh basil and caper berries, and a gene-rous squeeze of lime juice.
 
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