Chilli & Ricotta Courgette Flowers with Basil Dressing
One of my absolute favourite things about farmers markets is the diverse range of produce you encounter, like these beautiful, edible courgette flowers. Courgette flowers have a reputation for being a bit more fiddly than they actually are, this recipe shows just how quick and easy they are to prepare. I have used ricotta as the base of my stuffing, it's a very light cheese and pairs well with the delicate flavour of courgette. I have added a little heat with chilli and finished with a simple basil dressing. These flowers would make a delicious starter, which you could prepare in advance, or as a fun accompaniment to a main meal
6 courgette flowers
200g ricotta cheese
1 medium heat chilli, finely chopped
25g basil, chopped
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Start by placing the ricotta, chilli and about a quarter of the basil in a bowl and stir well. That's the stuffing done!
Now take the flowers and carefully peel back the petals to reveal the stigma. Simply remove the stigma with your fingernails or with a pair of scissors. Take a teaspoon and gently spoon in some of the stuffing, once the flower is full, twist the top of the petals to seal.
To make the basil dressing, combine 3 tbsp of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, the remaining basil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Place the dressing in a bowl ready to drizzle over the cooked flowers.
For the batter combine the egg, cornflour and a pinch of salt in a bowl, whisking to create a smooth mixture.
Heat a pan with a couple 2/3 tbsp of olive oil, dunk the flowers in the egg mixture and place in the pan to cook. They won't take long so keep an eye on them and turn once golden, don't worry if some of the cheese oozes out during the cooking process.
Serve immediately after cooking with lashings of basil dressing.