Baked courgette flowers with breadcrumbs and ricotta

Baked courgette flowers with breadcrumbs and ricotta

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Not strictly a storecupboard-dependent recipe but one that I very much wanted to include in this book. Courgette flowers should not be considered cheffy, restaurant-only ingredients. Sure enough they are expensive to get hold of, but if you know anyone who grows their own, come summertime they are likely to have an abundance. Lots of chefs and cooks seem to like coating the flowers in a batter before deepfrying them, but I think this masks their gorgeous, dainty, silken texture. Stuff them with ricotta and herbs instead and lay them on a bed of fresh tomato sauce before baking them to a bubble with breadcrumbs (storecupboard!) and Parmesan. (Having now written this down, if that doesn’t sound restaurant-y, I don’t know what does...)

Courgette flowers are best picked on a dry day when they are wide open. Pick them either on stems or with their small courgette fruit attached. You’ll need about 8 for this recipe. Pinch off the sepals and the stamen straight away before the flower begins to close, which it does soon after it is picked. Any courgette flowers that have already closed should be opened very gently, as the petals may be entwined and are prone to rip.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fresh tomato sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500g ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chilli flakes, to taste
A large bunch fresh herbs – basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram – or a good-sized bunch of thyme

For the stuffed flowers

Quantity Ingredient
200g ricotta
30g freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
reserved herbs from the tomato sauce, finely chopped
2 courgettes, finely diced and lightly fried in a little olive oil to still retain some bite, about 2 minutes over a high heat to colour
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chilli flakes, to taste
8 courgette flowers, prepared as directed
50ml double cream
30g breadcrumbs, lightly toasted

Method

  1. First skin the tomatoes for the sauce. To do this, slit the side of each tomato skin with a sharp knife, then put them into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for under 1 minute or, if the tomatoes are small, 15–30 seconds, then drain and slip off the skins.
  2. Remove the seeds and the juice from the tomatoes. It’s best to do this over a sieve positioned over a bowl, collecting the strained juice as you work. Chop the skinned flesh roughly.
  3. Warm the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic. Soften a little without colouring for 1–2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Cook over a moderately high heat until the flavour is concentrated but the sauce remains fresh-tasting, about 5 minutes. Add the strained tomato juice midway through the cooking, mixing well.
  5. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt, black pepper and/or chilli flakes. Chop half the herbs and add to the tomato sauce, keeping the remaining half for stuffing the courgette flowers. Set the sauce aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  7. In a bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan, remaining herbs, cooked courgette and some seasoning.
  8. Open the courgette flower petals and stuff the flowers with the ricotta mixture, pushing the mixture into the centre with a teaspoon. Don’t overfill them. Twist each flower gently to close.
  9. Pour the tomato sauce into a wide shallow baking dish and gently flatten each stuffed flower a bit as you lay them in the sauce.
  10. Pour the double cream over the stuffed flowers, then scatter over the breadcrumbs and an extra handful of grated Parmesan.
  11. Cook in the oven for 10–15 minutes, until bubbling at the edges and hot all the way through. Serve immediately.
Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again