Monday, 21 June 2010

French fries

All present and correct

Well the sun came out and, in the fickle way of holiday makers everywhere, I’m grateful for the house’s fortress-like basalt walls which keep the rooms shady and cool. Even on the brightest days, inside you need to turn on a light to read.

June is one of the happiest and most delicious of months in Adge. The market is full of peas and peaches, melons, tomatoes and cherries, everything du region. At one of my favourite stalls, a young man was selling courgette flowers. I bought all he had, about twenty or so, and from another stall enough soft goat’s cheese to stuff them.

Stuffed courgette flowers

Golden and ready to eat

Forgive me, TS Eliot, for saying that I measure out my life in measuring spoons. Quarter of a teaspoon, half a teaspoon, a teaspoon; half a tablespoon, a tablespoon. When I’m developing recipes, accuracy is everything. Measure and measure again. So when I’m on holiday, one of the purest of pleasures for me is to scatter, toss, fling ingredients around with a recklessness that would get me fired in my real life. Here, it just gets me fired up. So you need to forgive me, too, for having no proper measurements in this recipe. But hey, you’re a clever sort, you can figure it out.

Courgette flowers
Soft goat’s cheese
A cup of plain flour
Sparkling mineral water, chilled
Salt
An ice cube
Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying

Carefully peel back the petals of the courgette flowers and remove the stamens. Take a bit of soft goat’s cheese (I was going to say about a teaspoonful, but we’re doing this freestyle, no measuring aren’t we?) and tuck it inside each flower, twisting the petals to close around the cheese.

Stuff carefully

Pour about 10cm of oil into a heavy-bottomed, deep pan. It shouldn’t come more than a third of the way up the sides. Heat up the oil until it measures 180˚C on a thermometer, or, as we’re on holiday, a cube of bread turns golden in just less than a minute.

While it’s heating up, make the batter. In a bowl, mix the flour with a good pinch of salt and enough mineral water to give it the consistency of double cream. I like to throw in an ice cube too, to ensure it’s extra cold. When the fat is hot enough, dip the flowers by their stems into the batter and then carefully drop them into the oil. Don’t crowd the pan – in mine, I can cook about four at a time – and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Scoop the cooked flowers out of the oil with tongs or a spider and leave to drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little salt.

16 comments:

  1. oh this is utterly gorgeous- love stuffed fiori di zucca, and filled w goat cheese? even more luscious. x shayma

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  2. DROOL!
    Oh, pardon me. I didn't mean to muss your monitor. Oh, you darling! Imagine taking the time to do this?! I cannot. I barely make enough time to yank weeds, much less stuff flowers. You amaze me, you truly do.

    Shocked and awed,
    Karen

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  3. I am drooling too! It is that mixture of fresh, and creamy and fried that is so utterly perfect.
    And your photoes are lovely! They illustrate it exactly!

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  4. The most marvellous part of this is that is will reduce the amount of courgettes that crop. I do love a courgette - of course - but those plants do have a tendency to be generous to the point of sluttishness. Having said that, I am about to encourage my husband to deflower them so perhaps I am just as bad.

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  5. Oh they were delicious!!! Were I a condemned woman I would order them ,from Debora of course, for my last meal. Photos are gorgeous too! I hope you came back loaded up with goodies from Marseillan

    A x

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  6. Excellent freestyling! Am going to the south of france in July and hope to stumble across courgette flowers so I can use your recipe. Have you ever tried the ones stuffed with monte enebro at Salt Yard? xx

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  7. Mmmm looks delicious - I was trying to find your yum potato salad recipe and hoped it might be on here somewhere. im craving it - but I shall improvise!!!
    Your courgettes (or whatever they are in the big pot) have lovely flowers but they are attached to the courgettes so perhaps Ill leave off destroying your garden right now. Loving your blog...see y'all soon x

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  8. Recommend them to the world. I thought the flowers looked like living creatures until I ate them. m xxx

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  9. Shayma, Thank you dear. I LOVED reading your most recent post. Many congratulations on your first print byline - the first of many I'm sure.
    Karen, Thanks sweetness.
    Joy, I can't claim credit for the pics as Sean took them - a pot of hot oil, dipping and snapping pics at the same time is not a recipe for photo perfection. So glad you liked the recipe.
    Dawn, HILARIOUS. I will now forever think of courgettes as the sluts of the veg patch. This is the most delicious way to use up the blooms, so I'll wish MrLittleGreenFingers the happiest of deflowerings.
    Avril, We missed you when you left! I raided Marseillan brocante like a woman demented. Came back with sheets, cutlery, cake plates, chopping board, bowls, old jam jars, copper pan. In all, probably enough to set up my own stall.
    Helena, Do try the recipe, so easy. Not tried the Salt Yard ones, which is obviously something I need to rectify.
    Denise, Thanks!
    Ali - Thanks so, so much for keeping house, dog and garden in order in our absence. You are a darling girl. The courgettes are rampant. Need to deflower, a la MrLittleGreenFingers, as soon as poss. Come for dinner?
    Mummy, Bless you. Didn't we have fun?

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  10. I had courgettes growing (at an alarming rate) this year. They are finished now (it is winter here now), but I will try eating the flowers next year. Sounds delish.

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  12. it sound delicious, i hope i am able to assemble all the ingredients together to make a go!!

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  13. Hey thanks for sharing this! I love courgette flowers. it's also good to be used as garnish for a main dish ;-) Too bad it's winter over here, no courgette flowers. :( But I'm sure keeping this recipe for future use. Thanks! Actually I'd like to share this to my friends in Foodista as well. If you dont mind just adding the foodista widget for courgette flowers at the end of this post, then that should do it! Thanks, i hope you'll post again some time soon :)

    Cheers, Amy from Australia

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  14. Whilst a colleague is away at an overseas conference, I am tasked with going round each night, after work to water the courgettes and tomatoes.... can you suggest any natural predator of courgette flowers that I can blame if they suddenly disappear? ;-) I SOOOO want to do this!

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  15. These look utterly delicious.

    I have a shedload of courgttes growing on the allotment at the moment and have been concentrating on using all the buggers up, but haven'tused the flowers - God knows why.

    You have inspired me!

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