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Easter Lunch Menu Stuffed Courgette Flowers

Easter Lunch Menu from Provence

These zucchini flowers sound like a lot of work, but they are easy to make as long as you are organized. Your guests will love these pre-lunch or dinner snacks.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 200 ml Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil) for frying
  • 12 Courgette Flowers or with a baby zucchini attached
  • 60 g (2 oz) Comte, Gruyere or Parmesan,
  • 140 g (5 oz) Soft Cheese such as Ricotta goats cheese or a full fat cream cheese
  • 30 g (1 oz) Basil Chives or Wild Garlic Leaves
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper

For the Batter:

  • 140 g (1 cup) Plain All-Purpose Flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup+) Very Cold Water just over 1 cup
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Grain Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Lemon

To Serve:

  • Maldon Salt Flakes
  • 2 Lemons

Instructions
 

Prepare & Stuffing:

  • Make the stuffing by combining the finely grated hard cheese with the soft cheese.
  • Add the finely chopped herbs, pepper and the zest of a lemon. I usually mash mine together with a fork. This will be easier if your cheese is room temperature.
  • Make the batter by whisking together your flour, salt, pepper, lemon zest and the juice of the lemon.
  • Then slowly add the cold water, you may not need all of it, whisking until you have the texture of thick cream. The odd lump is fine and, weirdly, will help you get a nice crunchy batter.
  • Start warming the oil over medium-high heat. Use a wide, high sided pan. A high sided frying pan is good, a less wide saucepan will mean you can only cook a few in each batch as otherwise, they’ll stick together.
  • While your oil warms, start to stuff your flowers. You can be "cheffy" and tidy and use a piping bag but I’m never organised enough to use that. I just gently peel one of the flower petals, check for any tiny insects and if I find them, gently remove them. Then I use a teaspoon to squish around a tablespoon of the cheese mixture inside each flower. Then I squish the petals back together so that the cheese is enclosed. A little bit of seepage is fine. The cheese should help the petals stick together if they tear. The first one will feel tricky but you’ll quickly get into a routine. You can stuff the flowers and leave them in the fridge at this stage for a few hours.
  • Once you have stuffed all your flowers you can test that your oil is hot. I do this by dropping a cube of bread (or a dollop of the leftover batter) in, if it sizzles and starts to turn brown pretty quickly you are ready to fry. If not, leave the bread in and watch until it goes brown.

To Cook:

  • Set up a production line with a plate of paper towel next to to your pan of oil, a pair of tongs, a slotted spoon, your bowl of batter and the stuffed flowers.
  • Then, one by one, dip each flower in the batter until well coated and quickly, carefully place into the oil. I reckon on cooking 4-5 at a time in my pan. Too many and they’ll bring the temperature of the oil down and be soggy, or they’ll stick together.
  • Cook them on one side without moving them until they turn golden and crisp (around 3 minutes), then use your tongs and spoon to gently turn them over and cook them for another couple of minutes on the other side.
  • Set them onto the paper towel to remove excess oil while you cook the next batch.

To Serve:

  • Make sure your friends are ready with their wine poured and their pile of lemon wedges so that they can eat them while they are fresh and hot – with a squeeze of lemon and salt.
Keyword Cheese, Goat Cheese, Zucchini
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