I've meant to try cooking courgette / zucchini blossoms for the last couple of years and have never got round to it. Now I'm wondering why I haven't done this earlier !
The blossoms from courgettes are an extreme delicacy and impossible to buy anywhere other than Europe to my knowledge. With courgettes, the plant produces both male and female flowers. the females develop into the fruits... so it's the male ones you want to pick. Actually, these are summer bush patty pan squash flowers. Patty pan squash are similar in habit to courgettes and you generally cook them in the same fashion.
Remove the stamens from the middle and clean out any bugs. Mine were heaving with horrid little black thunderflies - so I had to be rougher with them than I would have liked. Try gently with paper towling.
Meanwhile, make your filling and tempura batter. Filling is nice but not a neccessity, so leave it out if you prefer.
For the filling - I used a great big spoonful of cream cheese and mixed in a little garlic granules, ground corriander and a tiny sprinking of ground crushed chillies. Season with salt and black pepper. Put a good teaspoonful into the centre of each flower.
For the tempura : 1/2 a cup of plain flour, ice cold sparking water and some seasoning. Mix it into a loose paste with a whisk or fork.
Dip the flowers in the batter and drop straight into hot oil approx 1" deep. Cook each flower for 30 > 60 seconds and then lift out and set on to kitchen paper. I cooked the flowers 2 at a time in a small, deep saucepan.
I'm afraid this is the only photo
There was too much going on in the kitchen. I was trying to cook three different meals tonight - one for Oliver, one for Steve and mine all at the same time. Steve did have a go at the flowers but decided the texture wasn't for him on the first bite. I (on the other hand) thought these were simply fantastic and was all too happy to get to eat the rest myself ! Ooops.... did I admit that ?
Seriously - if you grow courgettes or squash (or know someone who does) - don't miss out on this amazing summer delicacy.