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Recipe: Stuffed Courgette Flowers

stuffed_courgettes_flowers.jpg

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

Method

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)

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