In this summer I am spending in Suffolk, I’ve been looking forward to the moment when the vegetables that my dad and I have been tending would be ready to eat. At the weekend there was a thrilling moment when I saw that the delicate, lilac aubergine flowers had come out. Tomatoes are ripening all the time and fresh, bright yellow courgette flowers appear every day. To that, there are bountiful and diverse herbs growing outside: mint, Italian parsley, basil, lovage, thyme, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and more. This recipe is a lovely way to engage with many of these summer flavours. It was my first time making this and I was delighted with how little time it took, and how easy and effective it was.
I made up my own batter recipe after reading many different ones, and it produced a very light, crisp result. A deep fryer was not necessary; just having the oil hot and gently turning them worked very well and as ricotta does not melt, the cheese did not ooze out.
6-8 courgette flowers
50g grated parmesan or crumbled salty goat’s cheese
a small bunch of fresh herbs: basil, chives and parsley, torn or cut small
2 heaped tablespoons, plain flour
½ tablespoon, cornflour
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1 small courgette, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 smashed garlic clove with a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon, chopped parsley
How to make:
Mix the batter ingredients together with a whisk in a bowl and season with salt and put in the fridge.
Mix together the ricotta and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the stamen from inside the courgette flowers and gently ease in as much of the ricotta mixture as you can into each one with a teaspoon, pushing it as far in as you can. They should be full but not overflowing.
Place a small frying pan or sauce pan on the heat with about 2 cm of sunflower oil in and put on a high heat
Remove the batter from the fridge, turn a stuffed courgette flower well in the batter. Check the oil is hot enough by dropping in a bit of batter – when it sizzles, gently lay the battered flower in, and turn every 30 seconds until it’s golden all over – remove to a warmed plate with some kitchen roll on. Continue until all are done.
– meanwhile – toss the tomato, garlic and courgette together with some olive oil and salt in another pan, for about 5 minutes until softened but not disintegrated. Then mix in parsley and season fully.
Serve the courgette flowers with a spoon of the tomato mix, and a small wedge of lemon.