The marrow after the courgette before … Stuffed Courgette Flower Recipe

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Before the battering ... fershly picked courgette floweres

Before the battering ... freshly picked courgette flowers

I think, without naming names, that for the majority of my tender years I’ve been misled into chomping marrows rather than courgettes.

Now I’m sure that a marrow’s pure economies of scale justifies over boiling, steaming and/or over processing this off-white, green skinned vegetable and passing it off as “courgette” to unsuspecting school children, nieces/nephews and grandchildren but enough is enough. Through pure coincidence I’ve now had two tastes of zucchini zeitgeist and suspect that I (would have) always (given the chance) loved courgettes but I still rather dislike marrow (I’m happy to stand corrected on my current false-economies-of-marrows view point. All marrow recipes will be gratefully received info@tomdowson.com.

My recent mid-summer encounter with, what I was told were, lightly charred sliced baby courgettes, tossed in fruity olive oil, with toasted pinenuts, sultanas and plump shredded mint stirred through was the first welcome revelation. The simple dish giving an awesome prelude to the second and to my first forray into the rather strange courgette flowers.

Because of my initial distaste towards the “courgarrows” that I’ve been fed over the years, I’ve always chosen to ignore these alien spore like flowers as nothing more than chefy non-entical foodstuffs. How wrong could I have been!

I’ll set the scene … see post: Provenance, Perseverance, Preserves …

… so anyway the afore mentioned PYO centre had healthy crops of … yes your guessed it … courgettes! Still with slight scepticism I picked fruit plus flower with caution. The last thing I wanted to discover was that the wool had been pulled yet again and I’m back in courgarrow purgatory. I was confident that I could do justice to the mainstay of the vegetable using the recipe above, but the recipe below was one of the most triumphant cooking moments that I’ve ever had to date.

Like a mulberry hand-bag (so I’ve been told), you can dress a courgette flower up or down (in this case a simple batter), and whatever you put in (ricotta), the contents are invariably going to be given auto kudos because of what they’re housed in. Essentially both are simply great taste!

I don’t want to say anything more on the subject (nor on my handbag fetish) the recipe and result do more than enough talking, other than to: proclaim my undying love for courgettes, insist that you must try the recipe and emphasise my utter remorse that I may have to wait until next season to produce the same again!

Stuffed Courgette Flowers


Ingredients (enough 2 as a large starter):

7-8 fresh courgette flowers (carefully washed if necessary)

For the filling:
200g ricotta cheese
75g Parmesan cheese
1tsp fresh shredded basil
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2tsp of lemon zest
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the batter:

100g plain flour mixed
110ml ice-cold water
extra lightly seasoned plain flour for dusting

For deep frying:
750ml sunflower oil

To serve:
homemade Balsamic vinegar reduction or shop bought version
whole basil leaves and thyme sprigs

Method:

If necessary wash the courgette flowers carefully, lightly dry and set aside.
Pour the sunflower oil into a large pan and set over a medium heat.

Mix all of the filling ingredients together and carefully spoon into the courgette flowers. Twist the tips of the flowers to enclose the filling.

When the oil has reached a sufficient temperature (a cube of bread should brown and crisp in approximately 5-7 seconds), lightly roll the flowers in the seasoned flour and then holding the flower by the tips, dip into the batter mix and then straight into the hot oil. Fry in 2 batches.

When golden and crisp remove the flowers with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll.

Drop the basil leaves and thyme sprigs into the oil for literally 10 seconds to crisp and remove.

While still hot and crisp, plate up the courgette flowers, drizzle over the Balsamic reduction and top with the deep-fried herbs. Devour, making as many ridiculous breathy vocal sounds as possible when you inadvertently burn your mouth on the filling.

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5 responses to “The marrow after the courgette before … Stuffed Courgette Flower Recipe

  1. Good site – we have had a profusion of courgettes from the garden but haven’t been cooking the flowers – next year …..

    Had a courgette mussaka last night from a recipe of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (one of my food gods) from the Guardian a few weeks back. Used up large courgettes (not quite marrows yet) by slicing lengthways and roasting before using them in place of potatoes and aubergines – v good.

    My top courgette recipe, however is a Courgette and Cheese Pilaf. Fry onion, garlic, red chilli, diced courgette in olive oil; put aside then add bulgar to oiled pan, coat grains then add stock and raisins and cook until bulgar is softened. Return courgette mixture and add pine nuts and heat through. Take off heat, add lumps of mozzarella cheese, cover for 5 to let cheese go really stringy, add mint and eat with warmed pitta – yum.

  2. delicious … marrows aren’t my thing either, but here is another delicious courgette flower recipe …

    spaghettini (really thin spaghetti) with tomato, courgette flowers and red chillies: (thanks to viana la place’s verdura, vegetables italian style — great book) ..

    ingredients:

    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley leaves
    900g/2lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
    salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    12 courgette flowers, pistils removed, cut into strips
    450g/1lb dried spaghettini
    freshly grated parmesan cheese

    method:

    put the olive oil, garlic and red chilli flakes in a large saute pan. cook over gentle heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the aromas rise. add the parsley and cook for a moment. add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. add the courgette flower strips and cook over low heat until they are tender.

    meanwhile cook the spaghettini in abundant salted boiling water. drain when al dente. toss with the sauce and serve immediately, sprinkly with paremesan cheese …

  3. I have to admit that living in the north of england we never see courgette flowers in the shops. The only time I have seen them was in markets in Europe but you have inspired me with your enthusiasm! I must track them down.

    My recipe is for courgette and dolcelatte soup which is simply divine.
    1. Saute a finely chopped onion in olive oil until softened. Add 375g of finely chopped courgette and fry without browning for 5 mins until just beginning to soften.
    2. Add 1 pint of vegetable stock and half a teaspoon of dried basil, bring to boil and simmer for 10 mins until the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and and blitz. Add 125g of crumbled dolcelatte cheese (or other mild soft cheese), 5 fl. oz double cream and check for seasoning, adding plenty of black pepper.
    3. Reheat, making sure the cheese has melted. Serve with parmesan croutons.

    Thanks for the jam blog – just loved your writing!

  4. Great site Tom – love the photos.

  5. What a lovely recipe! Although I prefer them baked in the oven. This year we had so many courgette flowers that it broke my heart to see so many of them going to waste each day. So I created little website for those who were interested in purchasing our surplus. I will post them on the morning of picking. Enjoy!

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