As the weather beats down on us you may find it increasingly difficult to find zucchini flowers – it is always worth asking your local grocer or checking the markets but if not don't panic. You can achieve something very similar with baby zucchini and a few edible marigold flowers torn across the salad.
2 large zucchini, trimmed
12 zucchini flowers, halved lengthways, stamen removed (optional)
½ cup olive oil
4 cloves black garlic, halved
juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup finely grated pecorino (or parmesan)
½ tbsp sumac
1. Take one of the trimmed large zucchini and shave into ribbons. Add to a large bowl with half of the trimmed flowers, the torn mint leaves, lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon. Drizzle over about ¼ cup olive oil and season very generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Cut the remaining zucchini into strips. Place a large frypan over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil. Add the zucchini strips, remaining zucchini flowers and black garlic. Cook until browned on one side (about 1 minutes) then toss so you get lovely bits of char and green – the more uneven and interesting the cooking the better. You want the strips to be soft but still holding shape. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining lemon half and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly before adding to the bowl with the other ingredients. Using your hands, gently incorporate the fresh and cooked zucchini.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the base of a serving platter. Scoop the zucchini onto the plate, being as gentle as possible with the flowers. Generously cover in the pecorino, grate over a touch more for good measure then sprinkle over the sumac and serve.