A visual and culinary treat, served with a light shaved fennel salad
Courgette flowers are a real treat and can be stuffed with all manner of things, but I tend to use cheese and herbs as a staple, as they won’t overpower the delicate flower. Battering and frying is a common cooking method, but baking them for a mere 6 mins ensures that the filling is cooked and the baby courgette still has bite. I’ve served my flowers with a light shaved fennel salad to complement the herbs used in the filling.
8 courgette flowers with baby courgette attached
1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
For the filling:
200g feta cheese
2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt
Small bunch of fresh chives
Small bunch of fresh dill
Zest of ½ lemon
1 fennel bulb
2-3 tomatoes, deseeded
1 fresh red chilli
A little additional fresh chive and dill
A small selection of edible flowers—I used chive and garlic flowers
Start with the filling. Pulsing the feta in a food processor until it has begun to break down and looks crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients, plus a little pepper—don’t add salt at this stage. Blitz until you have a creamy and thick consistency. Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt at this point if needed. The filling should be strong in feta with a good balance of the fresh herbs. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag ready to fill the flowers.
Carefully open the petals of the flowers and use a small knife or teaspoon to cut and discard the stamen. Trim the courgette, wash and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 210C, then fill the flowers with the feta until they are ¾ full, twisting the top of the petals together to seal the filling inside. Place the courgette flowers on a baking tray, drizzle with a little rapeseed oil and sprinkle a little salt on the courgette only, not the flowers. Bake in the oven for 6-7 mins.
While the flowers are baking, prepare a little fresh fennel salad by slicing the fennel thinly using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Dress with a little lemon juice while you prepare the other salad vegetables.
Dice the deseeded tomatoes and cucumber into small cubes, no bigger than 1cm³. Chop the chilli and chives into tiny flecks, and neatly tear fronds of dill. Choose pretty purple allium flowers to complement the chives and add a beautiful contrast of colours to the plate.
Dress the plates with a little fennel, cucumber, tomato, chilli, herbs and flowers before drizzling a little lemon juice and olive oil over the salad. Serve 2 courgette flowers per person alongside the salad.
Recipe & images: Beca Lyne-Pirkis