Table of contents:
- 1. Confusing the sexes (and mothers)
- 2. Do not recognize the freshness (and store them badly)
- 3. Clean them thoroughly
- 4. Paste them in the glue
- 5. Just fry them
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:20
Maybe spring is coming in the air. It will be that even the low Easter is now around the corner. The fact is that the time has come to start looking after all those ingredients, typical of the new season, which come back to invitingly peek out on the market stalls and among the gardener's boxes.
We start with the courgette flowers: yellow, sunny, delicate but tough to cook.
At least, so it seemed to those who followed the misadventures of Alida, the otherwise promising competitor of Masterchef 5 went into crisis when she found herself struggling with the unmanageable corollas in the kitchen of the Pergola di Heinz Beck.
None of you, of course, will want / will be able to replicate the recipe of the great little German-Roman chef, if only for the lack of a special mold.
Many, however, will grapple with simpler fries, fillings, omelettes. That ours lends itself to a certain number of interpretations that are always rather elegant and tasty.
Of course, if those who cook flowers do things right. Without running into the most classic slips that I am going to illustrate to you.
1. Confusing the sexes (and mothers)
A very topical topic, that of the gender identity of courgette flowers. And related mother plants.
To begin with, know that they are all called pumpkin but they can also be zucchini: different parents, same appearance. Although generally those of squash are larger, those of courgettes are smaller.
The difference between male and female is soon said: the former are attached to a stem, the latter to the fruit that develops from the flower.
So, sorry, I made a bit of a mess: the zucchini seems to be the daughter of the flower it bears, not vice versa. She is becoming a bit Beautiful at this point, perhaps it is better to change the subject. Or ask for guidance from a botany expert who will undoubtedly be among the readers.
As for me, it is enough for you to know that the flowers with the stem are the best, more delicate in taste and, as we said, larger in size and therefore less fragile and suitable for scenographic frying and rich fillings.
2. Do not recognize the freshness (and store them badly)
Given that, given the choice, it is always better to discard the flowers that are already broken at the start, the real discriminating factor when buying is freshness.
Corollas swollen, turgid, only slightly open in the final part, of a beautiful bright and uniform yellow, without dark parts: yes.
Withered corollas, curled tip, the edges glued together and brownish: no.
Of course, they should be bought, brought home and cooked. But in the hustle and bustle of modern life this isn't always possible.
To try to prolong their life (it will be hours, a day at the most) you can wrap them in a few soft rounds of kitchen paper, without crushing them, and keep them in a gentle point of the fridge, very far from the bottom, where the coil passes and it is getting colder and wetter, two conditions they hate.
3. Clean them thoroughly
Never wet them, otherwise they get soaked and the petals sag, losing the turgid consistency that we like so much. Rather, wipe them with a small piece of paper or a damp brush, even a finger dipped in water, with extreme delicacy. Professional restorers of ancient papyri are favored.
This done, the aforementioned stem must be shortened (there are those who prefer to eliminate it completely, together with the green part at the base of the corolla). Then the petals must be enlarged with extreme delicacy, I repeat, with e-stre-ma de-li-ca-tez-za. And what is in the center (I - you understand - I don't know anything about botany: stamen? Pistil? Yellow thing?) Must be detached with precision and with extreme precision.
The tiny fingers, thumb and pointer, of a child around the age of three or four seem very suitable for this purpose, but it is difficult to make him master such fine dexterity.
Of course, if you want your flowers to stay whole. Because if, on the other hand, it is enough that they are half open or even intend to reduce them to strips, then everything is simpler.
4. Paste them in the glue
If you want to fry them in batter, whether they are empty or stuffed, this must still be the lightest, sweetest, most discreet of the batters. In order not to cover the light and sweet taste of the flowers, nor to excessively thicken the fragility of the petals.
I am of the opinion that the best is that of flour and water alone, very fluid, woe to it if it has the consistency of Vinavil: it would end up cementing everything with an unexpected and unpleasant papier-mâché effect.
I also prefer it without egg. Or at least a tempura batter, with stiff egg white and iced sparkling water. In short, as neutral as possible.
5. Just fry them
Of course, if they are very fresh (point 2), batter + hot oil are their death.
But if, despite the precautions (always point 2), you have forgotten them in the fridge for a few moments too long, there are still satisfying alternatives.
The nicest thing I've done in my life are the chips: flowers open lengthwise on one side, flattened, brushed with oil and put in the oven until they become crunchy. With the same cut, you can also coat terrines and casseroles, as long as the container is very well greased or greased with oil, otherwise don't remove them anymore.
More simply, the flowers, even if a little past, can be stuffed and baked, without violent temperatures and for a few minutes, if you like, with a sprinkling of parmesan and breadcrumbs to make a gratin.
Natural, cut into strips, they are added to a risotto, a pasta or, goodness of goodness, an omelette, with or without courgettes. An end that can also be done by those who broke during preparations that included them whole (to understand, those thrown by Alida).
The important thing is that cooking is always quick, a matter of a few minutes, otherwise they will come apart and get lost.
In short, treat them with respect, care and e-stre-ma de-li-ca-tez-za. They will pay you back.