Simplicity rules when it comes to summer’s spoil of squash and there's no better way to capitalise on the abundance than these stuffed courgette flowers.
Like most gardeners, I find it difficult to gauge how many courgette plants to grow. If you plant just one, it will probably die, if you plant two, both will live and you won’t know what to do with all of them. Also, their feisty little things. Turn your back for two minutes and they'll fatten into marrows.
However, courgettes are at their sweetest when they are about four to six inches long. It is then that they are perfect served raw – peeled into thin ribbons and dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice, a crunch of Maldon sea salt, a grind of pepper and a generous scattering of your favourite herb. But that's not all that's delicious. Courgette flowers are also edible and delicious when served with cheese – what isn't, I suppose.
If you have only one plant, harvest the male flowers only, as the female always has a courgette growing behind them. However, if you have a glut you can harvest both. These glamorous blooms can be stuffed with a light fish mousse, dipped in tempura batter and fried in olive oil, or served with a garlicky tomato sauce. To prepare the flowers, gently pry open the delicate petals and pinch out the furry stamen with your fingertips and give them a gentle wash in cold water. Allow to dry naturally before stuffing
Stuffed courgette flowers with goat's cheese and herbs
Serves two as a light lunch, or also makes for a lovely canape?
• 8-10 baby courgettes, with flowers attached
• 250g young goat’s cheese or ricotta • 4 tbsp finely chopped herbs, parsley, chives, chervil, and mint • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
• 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper • 1 egg, beaten • 1 tsp cornflour • Olive oil for shallow frying • A squeeze of lemon juice and chive flowers,
- Mix together the cheeses, herbs, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Using a teaspoon, gently fill the flower with the herby cheese mixture. Give the petals at the top a little twist to encase the filling.
- Heat some olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat.
- Break the egg into a small bowl and beat in the cornflour with a pinch of salt.
- Dip each cheese-filled flower briefly into the beaten egg and slide them into the hot oil. Don’t worry if some of the cheese oozes out, oozing cheese is never a bad thing.
- Once they are nice and golden all around, remove to a plate, spritz with lemon juice and scatter with chive flowers.
WORDS Lesley Tumulty PHOTOGRAPHY Marlene Wessels
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