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Deep fried stuffed courgette blossoms have a special place in my food memory banks. To be honest, I do not remember the restaurant but I remember that I was about 12 years old, in Paris, with my mother and we went out to eat and were served this amazing amuse bouche, a tasty mouthful of hot, beignet or fritter. It was simple yet fabulous. I had no idea what it was but so enjoyed it that we asked the chef and discovered that we had just eaten a deep fried courgette flower stuffed with goat cheese and fresh herbs. Since then, they are one of my favourite starters or nibbles with an aperitif so when it is courgette season, do yourself a favour and get some fresh flowers and make this quick, simple yet superb recipe. By the way, courgettes are known as zucchini or marrows in different countries. These flowers I picked from my garden a few minutes before making the dish.

The fritters are coated in a tempura batter which is very quick and easy to whip up. It is very light and crispy when cooked and not in the slightest bit oily. The traditional way of making tempura calls for cold water and ice cubes but I find that ice cold sparkling water makes an excellent light batter.

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Straight from my garden

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The filling

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Filled and ready to be dipped in the batter and fried

IMG_7880IMG_7883imageServes 4

Ingredients:

fritters
3 or 4 blossoms per person (12 to 16)
16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup fromage frais or ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, minced (basil, parsley, chives)
batter
100 g / 3 1/2 oz flour
40 g / 1 1/2 oz cornflour (maizena)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 ml / 3/4 to 1 cup ice cold sparkling water

Peanut oil, for frying
Tartar sauce and chilli sauce for serving

Preparation:

batter
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cornflour into a bowl
Whisk in the cold sparkling water and mix well but do not overmix
Place in the refrigerator until ready to use, not more than 1 hour
The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream
fritters
Cut the shrimp into small pieces and place in a bowl
Add the soft fromage frais, salt and pepper and mixed herbs and mix well
Clean the blossoms with a damp towel, do not wash them
Gently pry the blossoms open and with your fingers carefully remove the pistil and stamen and discard
Divide the filling among the blossoms and twist the top of each blossom gently to seal it
Heat the oil, you want about 1 1/2 cm / 1/2 ” in a large skillet, until very hot but not smoking
Working one by one, dip the blossoms in the batter, coating them well and place in the hot oil
You will need to do this in batches as you do not want to crowd the skillet
Fry the fritters about 1 1/2 minutes per side, the coating should be golden brown
Remove from the oil and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel
Serve immediately with the dipping sauces
Enjoy!

 

 

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