In Rome, fried courgette flower is the mother of fried battered vegetables — quite possibly as popular as bruschetta with tomatoes. You would eat it in a casual trattoria or pizzeria as a quick starter before dinner. It is often prepared in a thick batter, but I prefer it in a lighter one of egg and flour. That way you get a better taste of the courgette flower, as well as the filling of mozzarella and anchovies.
There are two kinds of flowers, the female and the male. The female flower grows at the end of each courgette, while the male flower grows directly on the stem of the courgette plant. Both flowers are suitable for this recipe. If you use the female then fry the flower with the whole courgette attached.
In the UK, courgette flowers are not easy to find but if you track them down, then do try this recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes. Makes 6 flowers.
● 6 courgette flowers
● 6 tablespoons of white flour
● 2-3 eggs
● 150g fresh mozzarella
● 6 anchovy fillets
● 1 litre sunflower oil
● Salt and black pepper to taste
● Remove the pistil/stamen from inside the courgette flowers and gently rinse the flowers, being careful not to break them.
● Heat the oil in a frying pan with high sides or in a shallow saucepan until very hot.
● TIP: To check whether the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of bread in the pan. It should sizzle and turn golden within 40 seconds.
● In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a little salt and pepper.
● Place the flour in another bowl.
● Slice the mozzarella into thin long strips and have the anchovy fillets ready.
● Fill each courgette flower with a strip of mozzarella, 1 anchovy fillet and mozzarella.
● Roll the courgette flower in the beaten eggs, then in the flour, and in the eggs again.
● Gently slip the courgette flower into the oil one at a time (enough to create one layer in the pan).
● Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until they turn golden.
● Gently remove each flower with a slotted spoon and place on a plate on top of a paper towel to help absorb the extra oil.
● Leave to cool down for a couple of minutes and eat while still warm.