Sunday, July 29, 2012
A Big Bite of Summer
Summer cooking in Provence does not leave a lot of room for free will. Exceptional ingredients come in tidal waves; no sooner have you finished gorging yourself on cherries in June than it's all melon, all the time.
My favorite of the recent culinary tsunamis are the zucchini flowers. Beautiful, delicate, with a surprisingly intense flavor, they are often simply fried and served as "beignets". I prefer to stuff them - goat cheese and fresh mint from our garden, beef with wild rice, tomato and feta, "brousse de brebis" (our local ricotta) and green olive tapenade.
I like to serve them before the meal. A teaser, really. There is something about biting into a flower that surprises, then delights, my guests. They are so good right out of the oven that this food blogger actually forgot to take a picture of the finished product. My husband, who hasn't eaten hot food in three years, can tell you how rare that is...
Wishing you a big bite of summer!
Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Mint
Like so many of the best French dishes, this recipe highlights one or two exceptional seasonal ingredients with a minimum of fuss.
3 oz. fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
Salt, pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Heat your oven to 350F (180C).
Lightly beat the egg, crumble in the goat cheese, and mash together with a fork. And mint, fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the flowers (don't rinse them first, but be sure to check for ants hiding inside!). Twist to close.
In a large casserole dish, pour in a small amount of olive oil. Roll each flower in the oil until lightly coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.
Serves 2 as an appetizer, 4 as an amuse bouche.
Tip: You'll probably find zucchini flowers at your local farmer's market - unfortunately, they are too delicate for the supermarket.
Posted by Elizabeth Bard at 7:27 AM