I love this time of the year. Yes, the warm(ish) weather is okay. And yes it’s very nice that the days are longer. I will agree it’s rather nice that it isn’t pitch dark when you wake up in the morning. But what I love so much more than all these things are… courgette flowers. They are literally the bees knees.
I’m so lucky I have a green fingered goddess as a mama and she has the most gorgeous vegetable patch, which provides so many amazing goodies. Not least beautiful and bountiful courgette flowers. You can do so many lovely things with these flowers.
My mama made some amazing courgette and feta fritters the other day which had a courgette flower pressed into them. Sounds incredible right? Yes, apparently they were. I say ‘apparently’ because she made them when I wasn’t there. But just couldn’t wait to tell me all about them. You beautiful meanie you.
Generally, I love to spoon various delicious concoctions into the flowers and wrap them up like little cocoons. There is something very therapeutic about stuffing these flowers and then wrapping their petals around them as though swaddling a baby in a blanket. I then coat them in a very light batter and gently fry them in some rape seed oil. I’m not going to pretend that this is the healthiest way of cooking these. But rapeseed is a great oil with very little saturated fat compared to some other oils. Yes, you can bake them, but they aren’t nearly as good and the season for these beauties isn’t long so this is an occasional treat, and I can promise you they are worth it. You’ll be counting down the days until next year’s courgette flower season.
Okay, so you can really play around with the stuffings, and this dish is a great way of using up the little bits and pieces you have in your fridge, so feel free to chop and change according to what you have. But here is one of my favourite combinations which, if you haven’t cooked these before is a great place to start.
These are deceptively filling, I suggest serving 4 per person as a main course with a crisp green salad…or two as a starter is perfect!
- 8 courgette flowers, if you are very lucky they still have a baby courgette attached...you lucky little duck
- rapeseed oil for frying
- 120g ricotta
- ½ ball of mozzarella
- about a tablespoon of chopped chives or very finely chopped spring onions
- 5 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
- zest of 1 lemon and the juice from ½ of it
- bunch of basil, large leaves chopped
- few sprigs of the basil bunch to garnish
- 100g plain flour, gluten-free or flour of your choice
- about 120ml soda water - weird as it sounds the amount of liquid you need changes each time you do it....some times 100ml will be plenty and other days you may need as much as 150ml. You want enough liquid to make a loose silky batter which isn't too heavy. Don't worry about lumps, they, for once are no bad thing. The bubbles in the soda water make this batter deliciously light and airy.
- Simply pop all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl and give it a good stir. Taste it and see if it needs a dash more lemon and perhaps a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Now, make the batter. Simply pop the flour in a bowl and slowly add the soda water and keep stirring until it's the right consistency. You want the batter to coat the flowers but not to be too thick. You will know it when you see it!
- Now, prepare the flowers by pulling out the stamen from inside the flower. You should be able to do this easily with your fingers.
- Then, tear a little piece of mozzarella and pop it inside the flower. Then, top up with a spoonful of batter and then gently wrap the petals together and give it a little twist/squeeze to try and get it all to stay together. Repeat until you have stuffed all the flowers.
- Take a high-sided heavy-bottomed pan and fill it with the rapeseed oil so that the oil is about 1 inch deep. Heat gently, it won't take long so please don't leave it alone!
- When the oil is lovely and hot, dip each flower in the batter so that it is well coated and then gently lay it in the hot oil. When you're putting anything in oil make sure to lay it away from you. That way if it splashes, it won't splash in your direction. Cook for a minute or so before turning over and cooking until they are a gorgeous light golden colour.
- Cook in batches so you don't over crowd the pan. You don't want to overcrowd the pan as it will lower the temperature of the oil which will make your fritters go soggy rather than crispy. Also overcrowding the pan can cause the oil to bubble up which is dangerous and messy.
- Pop the flowers onto a piece of kitchen paper to blot amy extra oil. Then arrange on a plate and scatter with basil leaves.
- Serve with a crunchy green salad. Oh why oh why can't we eat these every day?
- Feel free to play around with these, add in some chopped sun dried tomatoes or olives or mint. The opportunities are endless. For an added touch of brilliance at the end, drizzle over a little kiss of honey. So gorgeous.
Are you following me on Instagram @madebymargie?