At the local market this morning I was on a mission. We had a big family lunch planned and I really wanted to prepare some deep fried zucchini flowers to enjoy with our aperitif. Oblivious to my husband’s warning words about never going to the market with a list etc etc, I headed off, optimistic and sure that I’d return with the goods.
It was a beautiful sunny morning, a busy market and I headed straight for my favourite vendor here, Jean Pierre. “Bonjour, Vous avez des fleurs de courgettes?” “Euh…. non, j’en ai plus, je les ai vendus au poissonier” What?! He had just sold all his zucchini flowers to the fishmonger! I could hear my husband chuckling in the background, as undeterred, I tried another stand, still with no luck.
I walked down the street from the market despondent, shocked even. How could my lunch plans go so badly wrong so early in the day?! As I was heading back to the car, I felt someone tap on my shoulder. It was Jean Pierre, smiling. “My wife just arrived and she brought more courgette flowers if you are still wanting them”. I very nearly kissed him there and then, but instead as we walked back to his stand, I listened carefully to his favourite recipe for the much desired fleurs de courgette.
Until today, I had always deep fried the pretty yellow flowers in a light batter, but his recipe was a beautiful change that I thought you may enjoy too.
Allow 2 or three flowers per person, they have to be freshly picked early in the morning. Pour a little olive oil into a frying pan and place a couple of crushed garlic cloves into the oil, followed by sufficient flowers to cover the base of the pan. Turn up the heat and let the flowers cook for about 5 minutes without letting them brown. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave in peace for 10-15 minutes. At this point remove them from the pan and keep to one side on a plate, while you cook the next batch.
When you are ready to eat, cut some thin slices of your favourite bread, pour a few drops of olive oil onto each slice then place a flower on each. The combination of the flower, the olive oil and the bread is quite divine, and when I return to the market next week I’ll be thanking Jean Pierre for the recipe.
I hope you are having a beautiful summer, full of family lunches, sunshine and good food! and if you want to tell me what your new favourite summer recipe is, then I’m listening!