Crispy courgette flowers with brandade, chorizo, tomatoes and basil
Serves 3 to 4
For the salt cod brandade
- 1 large baking potato
- 150g (5 oz) salt cod, soaked
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 125ml (4½ fl oz) hot cream
- 75ml (2½ fl oz) olive oil
- 1 lemon, zest only, finely grated
- Salt and pepper
For the courgette flowers
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying (approx 1 litre)
- 300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 300ml ice cold water
- 4 small courgettes, with flowers
For the chorizo mixture
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cooking chorizo picante, diced
- 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 basil leaves, torn
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- A handful of rocket leaves
For the salt cod brandade:
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F/gas mark 4.
- Place the potato directly on the oven shelf and bake until soft, (approx 40 minutes). Remove from the oven, cut in half, spoon out the flesh and mash.
- Rinse the soaked salt cod and place in a saucepan with the thyme and bay leaf. Cover with water, bring to the boil, and simmer until the salt cod flesh falls off the bone, (approx 10-15 minutes). Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream.
- Flake the cod, carefully discarding any bones. Place in a food processor with the garlic and mashed potato and pulse, gradually adding the hot cream followed by the olive oil. Add half the grated lemon zest; season to taste with pepper (and a little salt if necessary).
For the crispy flowers:
- Heat the vegetable oil to 180-190C in a deep-fat fryer, wok or deep heavy based saucepan. Place the flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk in the ice-cold water to make a batter.
- Carefully trim the flowers from the courgettes. Gently open the flowers and cut out the pollen stems. Fill each flower with brandade and twist the tops of each flower to secure. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Take the courgettes you cut from the flowers and slice into 1cm thick rounds.
- Heat half the olive oil in a large shallow frying pan and add the courgettes, season and sauté for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil and fry the chorizo over a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further minute. Return the courgettes to the pan and add the remaining lemon zest and half the basil. Add the vinegar and warm through, turn of the heat.
- Dust the courgette flowers in flour, dip each flower in batter and fry two at a time, until crisp and golden (approx 1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper.
- Place the warm chorizo mixture and rocket on serving plates and top with the remaining basil and the hot stuffed courgette flowers.