fried courgette flowers
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The bright yellow star shaped courgette flowers might be more exciting than boring old zucchini fruit, if you shallow fry them in olive oil, coated in a touch of batter.
What to do with a glut of courgettes?
If you grow courgettes, you know it’s a curse and a blessing. Blessing because no matter what weather, all other crops may fail, rot and perish but not the zucchini plant – it’s annoyingly reliable. And it’s a curse because of the eternal question what to do with the glut.
Are courgette flowers edible?
You might not know it but there’s actually more to courgette than the fruit – and fruit it is. I think.* Because the bright yellow flowers, opening like a monster jaw on sunny days then curling up to sleep, are also edible. In fact in some countries the fruit is pretty much ignored and the blossom prized, picked and sold.
How to handle courgette flowers?
Needless to say it’s even more annoying than the veg (fruit). It wilts almost as you watch, harbours little flies inside and tears on touch. But the Greeks and Italians swear by fried zucchini flowers so all that faff has to be worth something.
What do courgette flowers taste like?
And it is – the fried flowers are delicious, a bit like a cross between really fresh cucumber and slightly wilted lettuce dipped in batter and flash fried. You can house a sliver of cheese for a cheerful ooze when sliced, but it actually, uncommonly, does not add much value here perhaps being better suited for not quite so fragile an environment. But a leaf of fresh mint – now that is a heavenly touch.
How to clean and prepare fiori di zuccha?
To clean the blossom it’s best to plunge them in a bowl of water and shake around a bit. Check for bugs, then pull out the stem.
Let them dry very well before brushing through runny batter and dropping in a pan with shimmering olive oil. No, we shouldn’t fry in olive oil but this is gentle frying and so allowed, for the benefit of the olive flavour.
Courgette flowers the Italian way
Don’t overcook – the flowers should really be only half-cooked or rather the batter should cook around them for a crunch. Try also simply dredging damp flowers through flour – I have done it here the traditional Italian way, but the minimalist approach will work.
*having verified, botanically – yes, yes, yes! I’m so clever!
fried courgette flowersServings: 2-4Time: 20 minutes
- 150g (1 cup) plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 12-18 courgette flowers
- a bunch of fresh mint leaves
- a few slices of mozzarella (optional)
- olive oil, for frying
1. Add the salt to the flour in a bowl and whisk in enough cold water to get runny batter; let it stand for 15 minutes while you clean the flowers.
2. Pinch the stems out of the flowers and rinse them in a bowl of water to get rid of bugs or dirt. Shake them off and arrange on paper towels to dry.
3. Insert a mint leaf or two into each flower plus a small piece of mozzarella, if using.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, just enough to cover the bottom, over medium heat.
5. Dredge each flower through batter, shake off excess and place in the pan; you might have to work in batches. Fry briefly on one side until golden and crisp, turn all the flowers over and fry the other side.
6. Serve immediately.