- 18 zucchini flowers with stem attached, stamens removed, ends trimmed
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 150 gm rice flour
- Pinch of baking powder
- 225 ml chilled sparkling mineral water
- Seasoned plain flour, for dusting
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500 ml vegetable oil (2 cups)
- 125 gm day-old sourdough, crusts removed
- 150 ml olive oil
- 125 gm almond meal
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- 1For aïoli, blend eggs, vinegar, garlic and 1 tsp sea salt in a blender on high for a minute. Add oil very slowly while the blender is running and whisk until thick and emulsified. Season to taste and refrigerate until required.
- 2For almond purée, soak bread in 250ml water for 30 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid,
reserving 2 tbsp. Process olive oil, almond meal, garlic and soaked bread in a blender until smooth, adding reserved soaking liquid to loosen if necessary. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt.
- 3Gently open zucchini flowers and place a heaped teaspoonful of almond purée in each. Gently twist the tops of petals together to close.
- 4Heat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C. Combine rice flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl and gradually whisk in sparkling water until smooth. Batter should be made just before frying – it will thicken if it sits.
- 5Place seasoned flour in a bowl. Lightly dust flowers in flour and dip into the batter, shaking off excess. Fry in batches until golden and crisp (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towels and serve hot with aïoli.
Drink Suggestion: 2011 Gembrook Hill "Blanc de Blanc", Yarra Valley. Coming from one of the cooler sites in the Yarra, this sparkling wine made with a 100 per cent chardonnay spends six years on lees before being disgorged with very little dosage. It's dry, shows great acid, fine mousse and lovely yeasty characters from the lees contact. Drink suggestion by Luke Skidmore