Tuesday, 7 June 2011

S.P.Q.R. (or the tasty flowers...)


This is the season when courgettes are flowering and their flowers look really beautiful, but to be honest...they taste even better! Unfortunately it is not easy to find them in supermarket here in UK, but you can get them growing your own courgettes in the garden! The most famous Italian recipe with courgettes flowers is from Rome and it is one of typical starter you would be offered in a Pizzeria.
It is one of the easiest thing to prepare and it is so tasty and yummy....you just can't resist to eat more and more....ok, I'll stop and I'll start with the recipe.
You need some flour, sparkling water, 1 egg, mozzarella, anchovies, olive oil and of course the flowers!!!
First you need to cut the external part of the flower being careful not to break it. Wash the flowers and put them to drain on a side while you prepare the batter. You need to mix sparkling water, flour and 1 egg and a pinch of salt. The result should have a consistence similar to the crepes batter, but slightly more elastic.
Now make cubes of your mozzarella, same quantity of your flowers and fill the flowers with the mozzarella and with one anchovy fillet each. At this moment you need to start heating your olive oil (abundant) in your pan. Then dip your flower in the batter, take it out with a spoon and deep fry it!!! When done, sprinkle a little bit more of salt if needed and just eat them!!

There is a little sweet variation to this recipe. This is originally from the North of Lazio, the area close to the border with Tuscany where my family is from and it has always been and still is my little treat when back home. The main ingredients are again the flowers and the batter but in this case you don't have to add any salt, any mozzarella or anchovies and before dipping the flower in the batter you have to open it and make pieces of it.
Then you can deep fry it again, and when ready and still hot, before serving sprinkle with abundant caster sugar.......Even if it is such a simple thing it reminds me of my childhood and it a lovely genuine original sweet!

I won't think about matching a wine with the sweet flowers but it is really nice to have the savoury ones as a starter or appetizer with a fresh, crisp white wine with a good acidity to clear your mouth.
My choices are the Sergio Mottura Grechetto, Verdicchio Belisario or Castel de Paolis Donna Adriana (unfortunately impossible to find in UK).
Hope you'll enjoy!

Picture is courtesy of my dad's garden and recipe is courtesy of my mum's heart!