Chefs' Recipes

Stuffed zucchini flowers with basil sauce

For when you need a showstopper entrée to impress.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"The most important thing when cooking vegetables is to choose those that are in peak season," says GT food director Lisa Featherby. "Here, we've filled zucchini flowers with a lemony roasted walnut and zucchini mixture and served them with a summery basil sauce. This is a great entrée for a dinner party."

Ingredients

  • 12 zucchini flowers (male or female; see note)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 thinly sliced garlic clove
  • 2-3 baby zucchini, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Green and purple basil, to serve
Walnut and zucchini filling
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
  • 80 gm roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Basil sauce
  • 40 gm each basil and baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 120 ml mild-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil
Batter
  • 50 gm (¼ cup) rice flour
  • 55 gm (¼ cup) plain flour

Method

  • 1
    For walnut and zucchini filing, process zucchini and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt, then stir through walnuts.
  • 2
    Gently open zucchini flowers and place a heaped teaspoon of filling in each. Gently twist tops of petals together to close. Refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    For basil sauce, blanch basil and spinach in boiling water until bright green (10-20 seconds). Drain, refresh in iced water, then gently squeeze out excess liquid. Press in a clean tea towel to remove any moisture, then transfer to a jug with remaining ingredients and blend with a hand-held blender until smooth. Season to taste and refrigerate until required. If desired, strain the sauce for a lighter, cleaner finish.
  • 4
    Heat oil in a saucepan to 170°C. For batter, whisk flours in a bowl to combine, then add enough chilled water to form a thin batter and whisk until smooth (you want the batter
    to barely coat the zucchini). Dip prepared flowers into batter, gently shaking off excess, then deep-fry, in batches, until golden and crisp (5 minutes). Drain on paper towel and season to taste with salt flakes.
  • 5
    To serve, spoon some of the basil sauce onto plates, top with zucchini flowers and sliced zucchini, then drizzle over a little more sauce. Garnish with green and purple basil.

Notes

If using male flowers, you may also want to add extra thinly sliced baby or small zucchini. Make sure to remove stamens from the zucchini flowers.