Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fiori di Zucca Ripieni al Forno

Cooking with courgette flowers is still such a novelty for me since, unless you grow your own, they’re not so easy to come by in the UK. Well, not in Lincolnshire at least! For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating courgette flowers, I have to say that in terms of flavour you’ve not missed out on much, but what I love about them is that no matter how they're prepared they always look exquisite and are such a versatile receptacle for showcasing great flavour and texture combinations. This summer we grew courgettes in our garden in Pisa and my Italian family's preferred method of preparation was stuffing the flowers with mozzarella and anchovies, then battering and frying them to create the most gorgeous, colourful and crunchy antipasti which brightened up many a mid-week lunchtime!



Having bought some courgette flowers myself this week, I decided to try something new and which didn't involve battering since, unlike my boyfriend's mother, I rarely have the patience required for deep fat frying things on a week day! Instead, I decided to experiment with oven-baking my flowers and after rummaging through the fridge for inspiration, I came up with my delicious and very simple spin on stuffed courgette flowers using a soft Italian cheese called Robiola. Unless you’re living in London, and willing to pay well over the odds, you may struggle to source this particular cheese but anything mild and creamy should do the trick, Philadelphia would probably work equally well! So here they are, my oven-baked courgette flowers...



Serves 6 as a side dish

  • Olive oil
  • 12 courgette flowers
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 100g Parma ham
  • 200g Robiola or similar
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • 400ml B├ęchamel sauce (not too thick)
  • Salt and pepper

Remove the yellow stigma from inside the courgette flowers and, if still attached, snap off the stems at the bottom too.

Roughly chop the courgette and Parma ham and pan fry in the olive oil over a medium-low heat until the courgette is soft. Transfer to a blender and blend the courgette, ham, robiola and mozzarella to a smooth paste, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Gently open the flowers and stuff them with a large teaspoon of the robiola puree. A piping bag would be ideal for this step however I used a teaspoon and it worked just fine. Lay the stuffed flowers in a baking dish and cover with a plain b├ęchamel sauce (Delia Smith’s all-in-one recipe is perfect for this) until the flowers are evenly coated.

Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until the parmesan is bubbling and golden. I served ours with some very simple grilled chicken and a rocket salad, but feel free to use your imagination!




17 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, I must just dream about how good this would taste. No courgette flowers here. I'll have to grow some of my own next year and try this out. You make it look and sound so easy and delicious too!

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  2. PS - I have to say your photography is astoundingly good!

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    1. Thank you for all your kind comments Marie! It really is as easy as it sounds! I just don't have the patience for complicated recipes! As for the photos, they're just taken with my iphone but helped a lot by using instagram!

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  3. Ahh, instagram. Never been able to figure that one out! #olddognewtricks!

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  4. I guess Italy and Greece share many recipes. Do you think I could use Brie cheese or would it over power with its taste?

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    1. I'd say brie would leave them a bit heavy. With the bechamel sauce on top I think the cheese inside needs to be quite light. A fresh soft cheese, like a goats cheese would work well though.

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  6. Yum - that looks so delicious! It's a bit hard to find those flowers here in the U.S., too...and they are so expensive if I do see them in the store. But so easy to grow them if you've got a garden!

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    1. I know, it doesn't make any sense when there is such a plentiful supply of courgettes in the supermarket! What happens to all the flowers!? I guess they don't have such a long shelf life but that never seems to be a problem in Italy....

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  7. We usually have it served deep fried which is good but I don't like deep frying at home so your recipe is a really nice alternative to serve them! :D

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    1. I hate deep frying at home too! I always go for recipes that require minimum clearing up time!

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  8. Oh my gosh. this looks good. I think I'm making this tonight, minus the ham (I'm a veggie).
    Just followed your blog, btw :)

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    1. Thanks for following! I'm sure they're really tasty even without the ham! Will try and post some more veggie friendly recipes soon!

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  9. Stuffed squash blossoms are so lovely. I've got to find some and make ths dish!

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    1. We're just coming to the end of the season in Italy but you might still be able to get them over in the States...they certainly brighten up any meal time!

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  10. I'm not a big fan of deep-frying either so love this idea. Sounds delicious! Vohn x

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    1. Thanks Vohn! It seems that there are a lot of people out there with an aversion to deep-fat frying!

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