Stuffed Courgette Flowers

How gorgeous are these beauties? I just couldn't resist. Courgette flowers are just stunning... rarely available, delicate and feminine. Found during summer months and into early autumn, the best ones to use are those still attached to baby courgettes. They can either be deep fried in batter as they are or filled with a mild stuffing and then deep fried. Just about anything will do, so experiment using left over risotto, fresh herbs, nuts, mozzarella, ricotta or marscapone cheeses. I like a savoury filling which is then elevated with the addition of honey when serving. This makes a truly special and spectacular way to begin a meal or to be served tapas style with other scrummy dishes.

Recipe (serve 2-4)

6 courgette flowers

For the filling:
125g ricotta cheese
25g grated parmesan
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper

For the batter:
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
150ml sparkling water

Oil for deep frying, about 750ml
Honey to serve

Mix cheeses, chives and walnuts together in a small bowl until smooth. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Either using a teaspoon of a piping bag, fill the cavity of the courgette flowers up with the mixture. Make sure you only fill up to the point where the petals begin to separate. Twist the ends of the petals together to seal.

Heat oil in a saucepan until hot. The oil is ready when a cube of bread turns golden within a few seconds when dropped into it.

In the meantime, to make the batter, place dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. In a slow stream add the water, whisking until the consistency resembles single cream.

Dip the stuffed courgette flowers into the batter, coat well. Carefully put them into the oil and allow to fry for 2-4 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen towel for a few seconds and then serve immediately with a drizzle of honey.

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