Our Zucchini plant is going gangbusters at the moment. I have two different types, one that gives fruit and the other which is specifically grown to produce only flowers. I could just eat them till the end of time, which is good to know as I may need too…
My mate Jamie O (oh you know, isn’t he everyones!!) has a fab recipe for Stuffed Zucchini (Courgette) Flowers in his “Jamie Does…” book. Its a bit of a different angle than I normally take (I normally stuff with cheese and deep fry) so I thought I would give it a go.
YOU WILL NEED…….
A bunch of mixed fresh soft herbs (basil, mint, parsley, chervil);
250g good quality crumbly ricotta;
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese;
salt & pepper;
1 x Lemon;
12 large zucchini flowers or 16 small ones (baby zucchini still attached);
500g vine ripened tomatoes;
2x cloves garlic, peeled and sliced;
3x small banana shallotts (long) peeled and finely chopped;
A handful of black olives;
crusty bread and salad, to serve
Pick the leaves off your bunches of herbs, finely chop and the stalks. Place in a bowl with the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and a little S & P, then finely grate in the zest of your lemon. Mix well with a fork, then have a taste and check the seasoning. Very carefully open the zucchini flowers, snip off the stamens, gently rinse the flowers and carefully fill each one with a generously heaped teaspoon of the ricotta mixture. Carefully press and pat the petals back together to seal in the mixture.
Cut a small cross in the top and bottom of your tomatoes. Plunge them into a bowl of boiling water for a minute or so until the skins blister and come away. Place in cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel the skin off and discard. Cut the flesh into 1cm chunks. In a wide pan, heat a good lug of olive oil on medium heat and fry the garlic and shallots for 3 to 4 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and olives and bring to the boil then season with S & P and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes, until thickened slightly.
When your sauce is ready, carefully lay your stuffed flowers on top and drizzle with olive oil. Pop the lid on the pan or cover with foil and leave on a low heat to simmer for 15-20mins, until the zucchini are cooked through and the sauce is lovely and thick. Cut your zested lemon in half, squeeze one half onto the sauce and cut the remaining half into wedges to serve. Tear your crusty bread into chunks and serve on the side for mopping up all the juice.