Fleurs de courgettes – Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Recipe and photo courtesy of Karla Dudley

Fleurs de courgettes, also known as zucchini blossoms are pretty, bright yellow and lacy, but why would anyone want to eat them? Because they are really tasty, easy to grow and inexpensive. Fleurs de courgettes are one of the Mediterranean’s oldest and poorest dishes, yet it continues to attract new fans. At sidewalk stands and fancy restaurants throughout the South of France and across the border into Italy, zucchini blossoms are stuffed with meat, fish and vegetables, sliced into risottos, sautéed in omelets or simply dipped in a light batter and deep-fried. In North America they are enjoyed as a traditional summer dish celebrating a family’s Mediterranean heritage. This recipe is one of the oldest on record, simply stuffed with seasoned ricotta and fried until they have achieved the perfect Cote d’Azur tan. Be sure to enjoy them warm topped with flaky fleur de sel and fresh lemon juice or dipped in a marinara.

INGREDIENTS

  • 18 male or female zucchini flowers
  • 8 Kalamata olives, halved, pitted
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 8-10 small basil leaves
  • 8 oz fresh ricotta
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for deep-frying
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

BATTER

  • 2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz chilled light beer
  • 1 egg white

METHOD

  • Step 1

Holding a zucchini flower, use your thumbs to gently make a split in flower. Use your fingertips to snap off and discard yellow stamens in centre of flower. Repeat with remaining flowers.

  • Step 2

Finely chop olives, anchovies and basil. Place in a bowl with ricotta and season to taste with pepper. Spoon or pipe a teaspoonful of ricotta mixture into centre of each flower, then twist petal ends to enclose.

For batter, place flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Add oil and beer then whisk until a smooth batter forms. In another bowl, whisk egg white until soft peaks form and gently fold into batter.

  • Step 3

Line a tray with paper towels. Heat oil in a deep saucepan or deep fryer to 350F, or until a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Working in batches of 4, dip flowers, one at a time, into batter, allowing excess to drain off, then deep-fry for 2 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to tray. Repeat with remaining flowers and batter. Sprinkle with salt and serve with lemon wedges or marinara sauce.

Pair up with Belgian Style IPA like Batch 100 Belgian White IPA