Sunday, July 10, 2011
Crisp stuffed courgette flowers aka zucchini blossoms
From all the vegetables we're growing in our garden, zucchini/courgette thrives best (closely followed by Jerusalem artichokes). And whereas the fruit might need another few days to be ready, zucchini blossoms are perfect already. Previously I've made zucchini blossom fritters and zucchini blossom frittata, this year I tried to stuff them. I came across two more or less identical recipes - one by Lucas Hollweg in the UK Sunday Times, the other by Jamie Oliver. A bit of tweaking here and there (who uses self-rising flour!?!?), and I came up with this version that we all LOVED.
You can use both male and female zucchini blossoms for this dish, as I did. (How can you tell them apart? The female blossoms have a tiny zucchini attached to them; the male blossoms just have the stem). I usually just use the male blossoms, as the female are the ones providing us with tasty courgettes later on. The male blossoms look like this:
Male courgette flower/zucchini blossom
However, if you don't need so many proper zucchinis, you can pick the female blossoms as well - it'll give you a more substantial dish.
Courgette flowers @ Lyon Market, France, August 2009. Female blossoms are at the front, male blossoms at the back.
What's your favourite way to stuff courgette flowers/zucchini blossoms?
Deep-fried stuffed courgette flowers
(Frititud täidetud suvikõrvitsaõied)
12 large and fresh zucchini blossoms/courgette flowers
vegetable oil, for frying
250 g ricotta cheese
25 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
finely grated zest of half a lemon
a small handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt anf freshly ground black pepper
120 g all-purpose/plain flour (about 200 ml)
0.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
250 ml (a cup) of sparkling water/mineral water
sea salt flakes and lemon wedges
Make the filling. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and mind leaves. Season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Form the mixture into 12 small balls.
Prepare the zucchini blossoms - I avoid rinsing, if at all possible, and neither do I remove the
filaments from the female flowers. (You're welcome to do so, if you prefer). Make sure there are no little critters hiding inside the blossoms! Using your fingers, gently open each blossom and place one small stuffing ball inside. Gently close the blossom around the filling - either just folding the petals over the stuffing, twisting the petals or using a chive to tie the petals tightly together.
Mix the ingredients for the batter - it should have the consistency of a thin crepe batter.
Heat 4-5 cm (about 2 inches) of oil in a small saucepan. The temperature is about right when a little peeled potato cube or bread cube begins to sizzle and turns into nice golden brown when you drop it into the oil.
Now, working with couple of zucchini blossoms at the time, dip them into the batter, then lower them into hot oil. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, then gently turn them over and let them brown on the other side as well.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a double layer of kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil.
Fry the rest of the stuffed zucchini blossoms in a similar fashion.
Serve hot, sprinkled with some Maldon sea salt and lemon wedges on the side.
Here's another close-up: