Stuffed Courgette Flowers

Fleurs de Courgettes farcies

Served with fresh tomato sauce

Serves 4 

Ingredients

6-8 courgettes with flowers attached

150g minced pork, beef and veal (50g of each)

1/2  onion

50g white mushrooms

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Breadcrumbs (from 2 slices of bread) soaked in 100ml of milk

1 teaspoon chives

1 teaspoon parsley

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon 4-spice (a powdered mix of equal amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger – commonly found in French and Middle Eastern shops)

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon tarragon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1 tablespoon of parmesan

Salt and pepper

 

Method

1. Prepare the courgettes by cutting the bottom half of the stem off (the top half and attached flower remaining).

2. In a food processor, finely chop the onion, garlic, the bottom half of the courgettes and mushrooms.

3.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and slowly cook the finely chopped vegetables for about 45 minutes on a very low heat.

4. Meanwhile soak the bread in the milk, after around 15 minutes, squeeze any excess moisture from the bread and blend with the meat and all the herbs, spices, salt and pepper in the food processor.

5. Add the meat mix to the vegetables in the pan and cook until the meat starts to brown.

6. Put whole mixture back into the blender with the parmesan and the egg.

7.Pull out the stamen from each courgette flower and stuff each one with the mix, twist the top of each filled flower and tuck over.

8.Place the filled flowers in a small ovenproof dish inside a bain marie and bake in the oven (180oC/350oF gas mark 4) for about 30 minutes.

9. Serve on a bed of warmed tomato sauce, sprinkled with finely chopped chives.

"I was once told by the famous French chef Roger Vergé that a courgette flower should be picked as the sun rises and eaten as the sun sets."

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Coulis de Tomates

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

1kg fresh tomatoes, skinned de-seeded and chopped (tinned tomatoes can be substituted)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

250 ml tomato passata

1 tablespoon tomato paste

A handful of fresh basil leaves + a few extra for final blend

A handful of fresh Parsley

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan on a low heat, add the onions and garlic, cooking until just soft.                                                                                                        

2. Add all the rest of the ingredients.

3. Bring the sauce to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens (at least an hour).

4. Blend well with an extra few leaves of fresh basil.

 

"A great staple accompaniment to many Provençal dishes."