As the potager heads into full summer production, we find ourselves with a lot of courgettes or zucchini. We love to eat the courgettes when they are really small, and I try to pick them every day. But we also love the flowers.
Zucchini flowers are little gifts from the potager gods. They are pretty to see, they serve to attract the pollinators that we need, and they are delicious.
My friend Stacey Snacks cooks hers stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, and herbs, which is wonderful. You can see her recipe here.
Here in France, we most often eat them as a starter or as a nibble with drinks. I make up the batter in advance, and fry the flowers at the last moment. Using a big shallow pan, I can fry them in batches of 6-8 flowers, so the whole process only takes about 15 minutes.
To make the flower beignets, first, pick your blooms first thing in the morning. This is the moment when they are the freshest, and not yet wilting in the heat of the sun. Gently prise open the petals and check inside for any little bugs, then leave them in a cool place until you are ready to use them. It is preferable not to wash the flowers because you don’t want any sogginess in your batter.
I should add that I also love to use the tiny zucchini that are only finger-sized and still attached to the flowers – delicious!
To make the batter could not be easier! For around 15 flowers I use two cups of plain flour, a good pinch of salt, and then start stirring in beer until I get the right consistency. Sometimes I add an egg, either way, works well.
Your mix should be slightly thinner than a pancake mix. Beat it well to ensure there are no flour lumps, then gently place your first batch of flours in the batter, making sure they are covered on all sides. Some people dust the flowers with flour before dipping them in the batter, I don’t find that necessary.
Carefully place each flower in your pan of simmering oil. Add as many flowers as you can without letting them touch each other. After a few minutes, turn the flowers to check their colour. You want to achieve a light golden finish.
I’d love to know if you make these and what your recipe looks like. I have also tried using the flowers from squash but I’m not such a fan. Please let me know how you use your excess potager produce in the comments below!