Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Zucchini flowers

Zucchini flowers are hardly seasonal, but I started this post sometime ago and I can’t get it out of my head. Like a writer’s version of an ear worm.

It’s about vegetable gluts. You know, when friends or family have home grown produce coming out their ears and some of it makes its way to you? This can be great (like, summer tomatoes), or not-so-great (chokos anyone?).

Well a month or so ago, a good friend of mine went next-level. Her in-laws had excess cucumbers and zucchinis from their organic farm, odd bendy ones that don’t fit our sense of perfection. ‘Cause bent ones taste different, don’t you know?

Catch ups, coffee dates & gym visits all came with obligatory bags of produce, but for a select few (ok, I think just me), there was a little reward for assisting with the glut - a bag of zucchini flowers!

I can’t remember when I first ate zucchini flowers, but I certainly fell in love. The sweet baby zucchini, herby cheesy stuffed flower and light tempura batter. I think they really are next level.

I’ve only cooked them twice. The first time was a year or two ago, courtesy of the same friends (who is also my truffle-gifting friend, which you can read about here). This time round I cooked the below recipe, but to be honest I think I prefer a more delicate, sweeter flavour than the salty/basil whack in this one. I'd replace the basil with equl quantities of mint and use a mild goats cheese (or a ricotta if you're not a goat fan) - try this recipe for another mint version.

We fried ours in a wok on the bbq in vegetable oil.

And P.S. Does anyone else struggle to spell Zucchini? Zuchinni? Every.Single.Time?

Stuffed Tempura Zucchini Flowers

1 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg, separated

8 zucchini flowers

90 g feta
8 basil leaves, finely chopped.

Oil for frying (any light odour oil is fine, we used vegetable )

Sift flour and salt into a bowl then whisk in water, oil and egg yolk. Allow the batter to rest for at least 40 minutes.

Gently open the zucchini flowers, trying not to tear the petal structure, and wash inside and out. This is easiest if you remove the stamen from the flower.

Season feta with pepper and then mash together with the basil together using a fork, or stir strongly with a spoon, until a lumpy paste is formed. Gently portion the paste into each zucchini flower.

Beat the egg white until soft peaks form and gently fold into the batter just before using. Heat a saucepan or wok containing 6 cm of oil over a medium-to-high heat. Dip the zucchini flowers, one-by-one, and place in the hot oil - cook in batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan.

Drain on kitchen paper, season with salt and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as an entree.

I wasn't sure about sharing the end-product but then I thought dammit. I'm not a photographer. I'm a part-time-wanna-be-chef-home-cook and a writer. And these babies are best eaten as fresh and hot as you can bear. That, my friends, is not necessarily "insta-compatible"!

No comments:

Post a Comment