These mini marrows, also known as courgettes or zucchini, are magical little things. Summertime is their season, and you will find them everywhere. Despite all of the rain we’ve been having here, beautifully vibrant courgettes with their delicate golden yellow flowers always manage to bring some sunshine to the table.
Food author Rosemary Barron puts into words exactly why we should welcome courgettes onto our tables come summer: ‘Which other fruit can be fried, baked, steamed or grilled, battered or stuffed; turned into a stew, pasta sauce, soup, soufflé or pie; be made into a bread, cake or salad, and have its flowers fried, stuffed or used to brighten an omelette?’. Case rested.
Summer Courgette Salad with Ricotta Stuffed Courgette Flowers
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter
1 yellow courgette
1 green courgette
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 courgette flowers, rinsed of any dirt and with the stems trimmed
2 tablespoons ricotta
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano reggiano to serve
A mix of edible flowers to garnish, if you please
For the batter
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
Use a vegetable peeler to slice the courgettes into ribbons. If like me you have an awesome little gadget known as a julienne peeler, then use this too so you’ve got some different textures in your salad. Season the prepared courgettes with a little salt and pepper.
To make the dressing, add together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and half of your chopped herbs and mix well. Toss the sliced courgettes in this, and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, the rest of the herbs and a little seasoning. Stuff around 1 teaspoon into each flower, and twist the top of the petals to close.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the milk, until you’ve got a light batter.
Dunk your filled courgette flowers in the batter, and shallow fry in hot oil on either side until golden. Remove from the oil, place them on absorbent kitchen paper, and sprinkle with a little salt.
Serve the courgette flowers on a bed of the courgette salad, sprinkle over a few parmesan shavings and garnish with some torn mint and basil leaves and edible flowers.