Mozzarella, anchovy and thyme stuffed zucchini flowers
Zucchinis, or courgettes as they are known in Europe, feature in many cuisines as they thrive in temperate climates. The lush flowers - which are comprised largely of water - are extremely popular in Sicily and mainland Italy. The egg-yolk coloured flower is also used in soups or fillings for quesadillas in Mexico and Central America.
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- 340ml beer
- 2 eggs, separated
- Salt, to taste
- 175g plain flour and extra for dusting
- 200g mozzarella, chopped
- 4 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
- Leaves from 3 sprigs thyme
- 10 zucchini flowers
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- Lemon cheeks and flaked salt
The flowers make an indulgent starter to a barbecue. Stuff them ahead of time and fry in batches at the last minute for your guests to enjoy while hot, with a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc.
Mix the beer, egg yolks and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add flour, whisking until smooth. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into batter.
Combine mozzarella, anchovy fillets and thyme in a small bowl. Gently open the petals of each flower and insert some of the cheese mixture into each flower, press and gently twist the petals closed.
Heat oil to 180C or until a small amount of batter sizzles when dropped into the hot oil. Dust the flowers lightly in extra flour and then dip one at a time in batter, drain off excess and deep fry in hot oil until golden on all sides.
Using a slotted spoon remove and drain on a paper-lined plate and serve while hot with lemon cheeks and flaked salt.