Autumn is here, and if you're lucky you'll be enjoying the last zucchini flowers of the season. Mostly likely from your local haunt, as these blooms can be tricky to serve up at home. That's where Taylor Cullen, head chef at Chiswick, comes in. Below, the chef has whipped up an easy-to-follow recipe for handling and conjuring up the lightest and crispiest zucchini flowers. All the details, below.
- 6x zucchini flowers
- 60g corn flour
- 500ml cottonseed oil
- 1⁄4 bunch oregano, picked
- 1⁄4 bunch fennel fronds, picked
- 2 marigold flowers, picked petals
- 1⁄4 bunch chives, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 bunch parsley, picked & roughly chopped Salt
- Olive oil
- 100g whole egg mayonnaise
- 10g finely chopped anchovy
- 10g preserved lemon, finely chopped rind only
- 250g tapioca flour
- 250g rice flour
- Pinch of salt
- 500ml sparkling water, chilled
- For the anchovy mayonnaise, in a small mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, anchovies and preserved lemon.
- To make the tempura batter, in a mixing bowl place the dry ingredients, whisk in sparkling water and ensure there are no lumps in the batter. Allow to rest for 5 mins (ensure you mix before using as the flour will settle to the bottom).
- Place all of the fresh herbs into a small bowl and mix together. Put aside to use as your garnish.
- In a large saucepan, heat the cottonseed oil to 180 degrees celsius. As the oil heats, dip the zucchini flowers into the cornflour. Once covered in flour, dip the flowers into the tempura batter, then hold up the flowers to drain the excess batter from the flowers.
- Fry the zucchini flowers for 4 mins until crisp. Remove from the oil and lay out the flowers on a paper towel to drain.
- Place the zucchini flowers on a plate to serve. Drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Garnish the flowers with the pre-prepared mixed herbs. Serve with the mayonnaise as you like. And enjoy.
A note on wine
You've put in the effort to make these crispy zucchini flowers, you might as well pick up something nice to wash it down with. Georgie Davidson-Brown, head sommelier at Chiswick, recommends something bright, elegant and fun. "If you’re making the zucchini flowers at home, I would recommend pairing them with an aromatic style of white with some acid like a Riesling, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, even a Muscadet sur lie."