I recently ate some moreish stuffed zucchini flowers at the revamped Star Hotel in South Melbourne and it inspired me to remember this recipe which features one of my favourite Greek spirits; ouzo. The ouzo imparts a lovely aroma and flavour to the batter and the whole recipe is a delight as an entree or part of a banquet. The flowers have a tendency to close up, so to keep them open, keep them upside down on the work surface- according to the tip in the recipe book “The Foods of The Greek Islands” by Aglaia Kremezi. I was lucky enough to raid my parents vegie garden for fresh zucchini flowers but they are available from markets and often can be ordered from your local fruiterer.
12 zucchini flowers
60g Feta cheese cut into 12 pieces (use an authentic Greek Feta)
12 large fresh mint leaves plus 1-2 sprigs for garnish
1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup warm water
1 large egg
3 tablespoons ouzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil and safflower oil for frying
Open each zucchini flower and insert one piece of cheese and one sprig of mint. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. (or 30 mins if you don’t have the time)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water, egg, ouzo, oil, chilli and salt.
In a large non stick pan, heat a combination of olive and safflower oil over medium to high-heat. In batches carefully dip each stuffed flower into the batter, turning to coat on all sides and fry turning until golden brown on all sides (about 3 minutes). Drain on paper towel and serve with mint sprigs.
Photo courtesy of gourmasian.com