Summer recipes: samphire and courgette flowers

June 27th 2011katie

Homegrown courgette flower

A delightfully sunny weekend and an inspiring trip to Maltby Street market (about which more later..) put me right in the mood for lovely summery food using delicious in-season vegetables. I’ve written up the recipes below, let me know if you have a go making them. What’s your favourite summer food?

Stuffed courgette flowers

I’ve been looking for courgette flowers to cook with forever – even resorting to growing my own (first photo above), which seem to be coming along nicely but aren’t quite ready for full harvest yet. Luckily I found them fully grown with baby courgettes attached in Booth’s at Maltby Street. I cooked a prototype garden flower with feta only, but it was a bit overpowering. Mixing it with mozzarella makes it more mellow and adds the lovely milky chewiness of mozzarella too. I made in into a meal with some chickpeas and a tomato sauce – our local grocer has amazing beef tomatoes in at the moment which are full of flavour.

Stuffed courgette flowers
Stuffed courgette flowers

Cheese-and-mint stuffed courgette flowers with chickpeas and roast tomato sauce

You’ll need:

  • 4 courgette flowers, with baby courgettes attached
  • ball of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large spring onions
  • 1/4 pack feta cheese
  • Spring of fresh mint and oregano
  • 400g can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 pack halloumi cheese
  • Garlic clove, sumac and chilli flakes
  • 1 large ripe beef tomato
  • 330ml bottle of lager (any will do, I happened to have Mexican Corona in the fridge)
  • Plain flour

    Prep the courgette flowers: wash well and carefully cut out the stamen inside. Cut the courgettes off two of the flowers and slice thickly. Put a wok onto a med-high heat with about 2 inches of vegetable oil (or use a deep-fryer, if you have one).

    In a bowl, mush up the mozzarella with the feta, torn mint leaves, 1 finely chopped spring onion and seasoning. Make the beer batter: tip half of the beer (should be fridge-cold) into a jug and whisk in flour gradually until you get a pretty thick batter.

    Take a quarter of the filling mix, pop into each flower and twist a little to seal in. Dunk into the batter and into the wok (I fried two at a time). Turn after a few minutes until browned all over. Tip onto kitchen roll to drain a little.

    Chickpeas: drain, rinse and boil the chickpeas quickly in a little veg stock to soften. Dice the halloumi and fry in olive oil with the sliced courgettes, other spring onion, and spices. Drain the chickpeas and toss in the pan of fried bits.

    Tomato sauce: slice the tomato thickly, season and drizzle with olive oil and oregano leaves. Grill on maximum until bubbling. Whiz up in a processor and strain through a sieve.

    Samphire, poached egg, new potato, hollandaise

    I first tried samphire, a delicious salty sea vegetable, in a fabulous risotto with girolles at Malmaison but it’s not often used in vegetarian dishes – it usually pairs with fish. But it’s also a little similar to asparagus so I thought it’d go well with the same flavours – poached eggs, new potatoes and hollandaise sauce.

    This dish is a lot about the cooking processes of all the ingredients, but it’s best served warm or even room temperature so you can leave things to sit as you prepare (and you can reuse the potato boiling pan for the samphire and eggs!). I served with some warm bread to mop up the hollandaise.

    Samphire with new potatoes, poached egg, roasted cherry tomato and hollandaise

    You’ll need:

  • A large handful of samphire
  • About ten large or 12-14 small new potatoes
  • A dozen cherry tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • For the hollandaise: 2 egg yolks, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and butter

    Halve the tomatoes, season and drizzle with olive oil and roast in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes until a little puckered and dried out.

    Halve the potatoes if large and boil for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. The samphire just needs a minute or two boiling, I used the same water as the potatoes. Lightly poach the eggs in vinegared water.

    For the hollandaise, I just used Delia’s recipe (half quantity for two) – I was amazed as it was my first time making it and it didn’t split or curdle.

    Dress the potatoes and samphire with a little butter, pile into a bowl and top with the egg and hollandaise, with the roast tomatoes on the side.

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  • Comments (6)

    • Kat

      June 27th 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Mmm, both recipes look and sound terrific — I'll definitely be giving that first one a go. Not to mention Delia's hollandaise; every time I've tried making one I've ruined it. Bet good ol' Delia has it sussed though!

    • Alice

      June 27th 2011 at 8:20 pm

      I have been really hard to find courgette flowers! My favourite restaurant in Nottingham used to serve them as a starter stuffed with goats cheese and drizzled in honey. OMG my mouth is watering just thinking about them.

      Also, Delia's hollandaise is the bomb. It is the only one that consistently works for me; it's never gone wrong.

    • grania @ crumbs for dinner

      June 27th 2011 at 9:04 pm

      where is this market you speak of? i must have some courgette flowers and i must have them now!

      both those recipes look gorgeous; i've been meaning to try samphire for years, especially as i originally had it confused with rapé (italian thin-stemmed brocolli).

    • Little Lj

      June 27th 2011 at 9:31 pm

      I thought samphire was 'sand-fire' until very recently. Which is quite quite stupid.

      Both dishes look yummy!

    • Jessica

      June 28th 2011 at 9:49 am

      The courgette flowers look soo tasty – might have to start putting some of mine to good use!

    • Yoshi Blade

      July 5th 2011 at 10:36 pm

      What a fascinating dish for the summertime. Thanks for this recipe for cheese and mint stuffed courgette flowers with chickpeas and roast tomato sauce.

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