To celebrate National Vegetarian Week (20-26 May) we’ve opted for a unique, colourful take on an often overlooked vegetable.
Courgettes grow well in the UK – they come into season in early June – but have a reputation for being bland. This zingy, creamy recipe should change all that and it makes use of their flowers too. The fennel sherbet adds a freshness to balance the milky cobnuts (a type of hazelnut) and if you can’t get your hands on ewe’s curd, a goat’s cheese works just as well. Serve as an accompaniment to a main meal – or give it pride of place in the centre of the table at a summertime get-together.
Kcal: 250 per serving
Sat fat: 2.1g per serving
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 yellow courgette
- 1 green courgette
- 8 courgette flowers, stamens removed
- 160g fresh ewe’s curd or goat’s cheese
- 40g fresh cobnuts or hazelnuts, lightly crushed
- Cobnut or hazelnut oil
For the sherbet:
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 tsps citric acid (£1 for 50g; wilko.com)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp ‘wild’ fennel seeds
Step 1: To make the sherbet, put the icing sugar, citric acid, bicarbonate of soda and fennel seeds in a blender and blitz until the seeds are well ground, then pass through a fine sieve. (You can use any leftover as a topping for ice cream or dessert – it will keep in an airtight container for up to a month).
Step 2: Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Top and tail the courgettes, then cut them along their length in wafer-thin slices, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler.
Step 3: Stuff the flowers with the ewe’s curd or goat’s cheese. To do this, fill a piping bag with the curd and place the tip of the nozzle in the flower before filling. Alternatively, gently open up the flowers and spoon in the curd.
Step 4: Place the flowers on a roasting tray and bake for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the tips of the leaves are beginning to crisp. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
Step 5: Arrange the courgette ribbons decoratively on four serving plates and place the stuffed flowers among them. Lightly scatter with the cobnuts, add a drizzle of oil and then dust with the fennel sherbet.
From The Ethicurean Cookbook (£25, Ebury Press)